We are currently redesigning our website. Please check back regularly as more pages are updated to our new design. Thank you for your patience.
50 Years of Serving St. Louis County Students

On September 5, 1967, South Tech welcomed its first class of 400 students to campus on West Watson Road in Sunset Hills.  The Special School District Board of Education stated a simple, but challenging goal for their newly established Technical Division:  “make available to the youth and adults of St. Louis County a program of vocational technical education second to none in America.” Fifty years later, South Tech continues to strive toward this goal and enjoys a long list of successful, happy graduates. To honor 50 years of service to the community and its students, Sunset Hills Mayor Patricia A. Fribis shared a proclamation declaring April 24, 2018 “South Technical High School Day”.  Principal Jake Lohse was awarded the proclamation at a recent Sunset Hills City Council meeting.

South and North Tech High Schools were developed using grants from the Vocational Act of 1963 which aimed to ensure that new and expanded vocational and technical education opportunities were available to students and remained in harmony with the needs of industry.  The act’s language about meeting the “needs of industry” required flexibility and a commitment to providing education that remained relevant. The resulting variety of program offerings over the decades reflects of our ever changing labor force.

South Tech students enter the building in 1968

In the 1967-1968 school year, South Tech offered the following courses:  Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Appliance Service, Auto Mechanics, Body & Fender Repair, Business & Office Education, Commercial Art, Electronic Data Processing, Fitter-Welder, Industrial Electronics, Offset-Lithography, Radio-TV Service, and Sheet Metal.  Juniors and seniors attended for the full day and took social studies, physical education and English classes along with their technical courses. Since the high school was comprehensive, students also participated in a variety of extracurricular activities including prom, sports, student council, and other clubs.  South Tech continued offering a full day program until 2008.

South Tech Machine Shop, 1968

Tech today continues developing dynamic courses for students to prepare them for in-demand career opportunities both regionally and nationally.  Programs like Pharmacy Sciences and Design & Entrepreneurship have been added in response to increased regional interest in these fields. Dramatically increased demand from the construction industry inspired a recent restructuring of our construction programs to allow more exploration during the junior year.  Students can become more familiar with fields like carpentry and electrical trades and learn about job opportunities with those programs’ industry partners before choosing an advanced core class their senior year. Echoes of 1968’s Electronic Data Processing are present in the complex and challenging curricula of our CISCO Networking Academy and Web & Computer Programming.  Industrial Electronics has evolved into an Electronics & Robotics Engineering course, preparing students for high-level university study. Demands in medical science inspired the development of courses in Health Sciences, Dental Sciences, and Veterinary Assistant. South Tech also began training students for public safety careers in Law Enforcement and Firefighting and Emergency Medical Technician, sending countless numbers of students to respective academies after graduation to join the forces of those who serve to protect.  And human service programs like Early Childhood Education, Culinary Arts, and Cosmetology have given students opportunities to earn certifications, licensure and college credit in creative and exciting careers.Unlike the programs offered in 1968, many of today’s skilled trade and technical fields require post-secondary education.  Choosing to attend a university or college, technical college, or community college is a common next step for most of our students.  Over the years, many of career fields have added certifications (IRC’s) to the credentials they require for employment. South Tech has incorporated these exams into our curriculum, giving students a jump start as many search for part-time employment and internships as they begin their post-secondary studies.  Programs that give students career opportunities immediately after high school graduation, including several apprenticeship programs, also remain among our offerings. Because Tech is focused on preparing and inspiring students, there are no limits on where they can go after completing one of our programs.

South Tech’s next 50 years look even more promising.  As the national conversation about K-12 education shifts focus to include a more concentrated effort on producing career-ready graduates, South Tech’s career and technical education electives will play an important role in preparing our region’s students for the career opportunities of the future.  South Tech’s commitment today remains as it was in its inaugural year. As stated by the school’s first principal, Homer Horton, “The South (County) Technical High School expands the realm of educational opportunities for the youth of St. Louis County and provided better prepared young employees for business and industry.”   

South Tech Welders Triumph at MWI Competitions

On January 26th, 2017 students from Mr. Holt’s Welding Program competed in the 8th annual Missouri Welding Institute Vo-Tech welding competition in Nevada, MO. The students were among 182 high school level competitors who participated in a variety of 90-minute long tests.

South Tech swept the competition and earned a total of $34,000 in scholarships and prizes. Our winning students were:

  • Joel Besch – 1st place (full tuition) paid scholarship, a new Lincoln Ranger 225 welder/generator, and a trophy  (Total value $18,393)
  • Blake Meine – 2nd place (half tuition) paid scholarship, Victor Cutting Torch, and a trophy (Total value $7,627)
  • Kevin McCue – 3rd place (quarter tuition) paid scholarship, a new auto darkening welding helmet, a trophy, and 200 pounds of Lincoln Electric Welding Rod (Total value $4,143)
  • Sam Aufmuth – 4th place $1,500 scholarship, a $1,000 competitor scholarship, a new DeWalt grinder, and 50 pounds of Flux-Cored welding wire (Total value of $2,700)
  • Joey Knoll – 6th place $1,000 scholarship and trophy
  • Nathan Flecke – 10th place $1,000 scholarship and trophy
  • Zach Hedrick  – $1000 scholarship
  • Eric Reinhartz –  $1,000 competitor scholarships

Congratulations to South Tech’s outstanding welding team!

A Partnership with an Eye on the Future

The Home Builders Association of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri (HBA), through the launch of their first student chapter, has partnered with North Technical High School in Florissant and South Technical High School in Sunset Hills to enrich the lives of students interested in the trades by offering them first-hand exposure to the world of home building.

“North Tech and South Tech have comprehensive construction programs for high school students, making them optimal partners for our new student chapter. With exposure to different trades throughout their junior year and focusing on a specialty senior year, students graduate ready to work in the trades,” said Dale Black, 2018 HBA President. “Our members are excited to present to the classes and give them a look into the residential construction industry.” Several speakers, representing multiple areas of the construction industry, have already visited both schools and shared their experiences while answering countless questions from our students.

The HBA’s goal is to connect members with students to provide job shadowing, internships, and opportunities after graduation. The hope is that this will create a pipeline of talent for the industry while providing high-paying jobs for graduates.

“A career in residential construction allows students to be creative and build the American Dream for local families. We are impressed with the quality of students at North Tech and South Tech and look forward to seeing our partnership benefit students as well as the many companies who belong to the HBA and are in need of skilled employees,” said Black.

To learn more about the HBA, visit their website at http://www.stlhba.com.

South Tech Triumphs at FBLA State Competitions

Seven members of the Missouri Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda Chapter from South Technical High School recently traveled to Springfield, MO for the Missouri Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda State Leadership Conference. This five-day conference, beginning Friday, April 6, featured dynamic workshops, innovative keynotes, and professional networking opportunities with Fortune 500 companies for middle school through college students.

New activities this year included LeadershipEDU, an in-depth focused workshop designed to help uncover a student’s true leadership potential, SpecializedEDU, a series of workshops on topics like Discovering Your Passion and Maximizing LinkedIn, and a brand new interactive conference mobile application.

Over 5,000 students and advisers came together for the event, with over 150 business education related contests running during the event; contest topics range from accounting to website design, marketing to mobile application development.

Overall, South Tech brought home many awards, including:

  • First Place in Network Design—Team of Adam Green, Andy Nguyen, and Chris Moore
  • First Place in Network Concepts—Chris Moore
  • Third Place in Network Concepts—Nathan Scott
  • Tenth Place in Network Concepts—Andy Nguyen
  • Eleventh Place in Network Concepts—Dakota Smith
  • Fifth Place in Computer Problem Solving—Nathan Scott
  • Seventh Place in Management Information Systems—Team of Steven Chalmers and Danny Fitzgerald

Of these winners: Network Design Team and 1st & 3rd place Network Concepts winners qualify to compete at Nationals in Baltimore, MD from June 28-July.

Missouri FBLA-PBL, a chartered member of National FBLA-PBL, is a registered 501©3. Their mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. Missouri FBLA-PBL membership exceeds 15,500, making it the second largest state chapter of the organization in the nation and the second largest CTSO in Missouri.

Palmer Recognized for Doing the Right Thing

Mattison Palmer, a Veterinary Assistant major from Mehlville, was recently recognized as one of December’s recipients of the “Do the Right Thing” award. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon young people in the St. Louis region who are nominated due to their exemplary behavior and actions. Bi-State regional police departments sponsor the award and collaborate to realize a mission of promoting positive choices by our youth. Captain Melissa Webb presented the award to Palmer at a ceremony last month.

Donna Hobbs, Veterinary Assistant instructor, nominated Palmer due to the outstanding care she shows for animals and her fellow students. “Matti is an excellent student. She goes above and beyond what is asked in the classroom in caring for the animals…(and) is always willing to help other students as well,” she said.

Palmer, now a senior, has been working part-time for the program as a caregiver 3 evenings a week. South Tech’s program works with local area animal rescues and always has foster animals on campus. Palmer provides their evening meals, water, and exercise.   Hobbs said, “This requires a lot of responsibility as students have to care for the animals in the evening on their own.” Additionally, Palmer works part-time for Noah’s Ark as a Veterinary Assistant. Although she will not be officially certified until testing at the end of this year, Palmer is able to perform many tasks at the office including assisting with prescriptions, blood draws, x-rays, restraint, and other office related duties.

“This program has taught me to feel more confident,” said Palmer regarding her knowledge of animals’ needs and what actions she can take to help them. The work of recuperating animals who have been neglected, abused, or are otherwise in need has been a very rewarding experience for Palmer. She has been involved in animal rescue work since she was young and knows that animal care will remain a constant pursuit, but she is still determining if she will commit to a career pathway in veterinary service. She currently plans to begin her studies at Meramec while exploring her options.

“Her dedication, compassion, and care that she has given to foster and rescue animals are why I nominated her,” said Hobbs. She noted that Palmer has skipped social events to care for animals being fostered by the program. This is a great example of how Palmer consistently strives to do the right thing and proves her worthiness of this recognition.

Students interested in all veterinary pathways are encouraged to consider applying for the Veterinary Assistant program. Applications can be found here: http://southtechnical.org/application/.

Entrepreneur Alex Bird Launching First Invention

Alex Bird, a Webster Groves senior and student in South Tech’s Design & Entrepreneurship program, is likely to have his first product on the market while he’s still in college. The young entrepreneur is currently securing a provisional patent and planning test marketing for his brilliant design, the “Pensory”, a writing pen designed for students with sensory challenges.

Bird designed his initial models using 2D and 3D software. After several revisions, he moved to 3D prints of the design and estimates he went through 500 or so as he carefully assessed, revised, and refined his prototype. He learned that his initial designs were too complicated, particularly when manufacturing costs were assessed. “I needed to simplify it for mass production,” Bird said. He worked with Mr. Arcipowski, Precision Machining instructor, to learn more about injection molding in an effort to refine the product further. He then spent his summer drafting patents and reaching out to pen companies, like Lipic Pen, for advice and to garner interest. His efforts are paying off, after 8 months of hard work he is currently working on sample models and sourcing materials with a manufacturer in New York. He hopes to run test marketing this spring before finalizing his design.

Bird credits his Tech experience with giving him a more realistic view of the career he wants to pursue. “I feel like I’m way ahead of everyone else, this has gotten me out into the world,” he said. Although his time on the Tech campus does take away some of the time he would spend with friends at Webster, Bird says he doesn’t mind “because I’m too occupied with what I’m doing here.” Amy Bird, Alex’s mom, agrees that Tech has given her son a great jumpstart. “He can be the person he wants to be at Tech – he reinvented himself here,” she said. Mrs. Bird feels that assumptions about Tech students not being college are unwarranted, citing that her son’s experiences have contributed to his college readiness.

Arizona State will provide Bird with his next opportunity to invent when he begins studying Business and Entrepreneurship next fall. He was accepted into the Leader’s Academy in the School of Business and awarded the New American Presidential Scholarship. Bird was drawn to the school as its focus on innovation has earned it recognition as the most innovative school in the United States for the past three years, beating both MIT and Stanford. One of the perks of the program is that all students get access to Tech Shop, an innovation studio and workspace stocked with all of the machinery and tools Alex has been working with in his program at South Tech. He will be spending a significant amount of time there between lectures…and his next invention should be just around the corner.

Lily Bedwell doesn’t shy away from a challenge, so when she was told to shoulder 300 pounds of rebar, she marched right up to the pile and did what needed to be done. “I wasn’t the only one who needed help hoisting it,” she said. Many view Bedwell’s career choice as non-traditional, a term used to describe career paths commonly sought by one gender.  When asked if she found that term troubling, she said “I don’t find it offensive at all. I instead respond with positivity and stay motivated.” Having a minority status in her pre-apprenticeship class at Local 396 Iron Workers is clearly not going to be a problem for Bedwell.

Bedwell graduated from South Tech’s Welding program in 2017, then applied for and was accepted to Local 396 in June.  She chose to pursue this career because she enjoys the work, she is excited about earning money while she is training, and because the skills she will learn are in demand all over the world. “I’m going to see as much of this planet as possible,” she said. After completing training, her prospects are outstanding. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster than average growth in this profession that will help rebuild an aging infrastructure in the United States and abroad and young women in the trades are more likely to be hired as firms strive to embrace diversity.

Bedwell will start her traveling a bit earlier than her fellow students as she was chosen to participate in a special 3-week course specifically for women in construction.  The 180-hour course will take place in Benicia, California and include mentoring on a large portion of the pre-apprenticeship curriculum. Bedwell’s current employer, Hollyberry Catering, has allowed her to take time off for the conference.  Bedwell supports herself by working full time for Hollyberry while attending her pre-apprenticeship class from 6 pm to 10 pm each night. To help cover her expenses during her work hiatus to attend the conference, Bedwell’s mom has established a Go Fund Me account at https://www.gofundme.com/HelpkickstartLily-snextchapter.  At last check, the fund is short of its goal only a few hundred dollars short of its goal. Once the pre-apprenticeship course concludes, Bedwell hopes to begin her paid apprenticeship in September.

Bedwell is thrilled with her experience so far, as was evident when she recently visited with students in the welding program.  She shared information about how others can apply for apprenticeship programs along with her experiences thus far in the pre-apprenticeship course.  The challenges she will face would be discouraging for some, but Bedwell views them as fuel to energize her natural “I’ll show you” attitude. “You are the creator of your own destiny,” she said.  With such determination and dedication, we will certainly be hearing future stories about her success!

Public Safety Programs Unite to Support Backstoppers

December at South Tech began with a battle! The Law Enforcement and Firefighting/EMT students went head to head in a fierce game of flag football during South Tech’s own version of “Guns and Hoses” to support Backstoppers.

Guns and Hoses is an annual amateur boxing competition between police departments and fire departments that originated in St. Louis over 30 years ago. From its inception, the charitable event has donated proceeds to the Backstoppers organization. Backstoppers has been serving the families of fallen public safety workers since 1969 by covering debts and other financial needs.

Law Enforcement students approached their instructor, Sue Gibbons, in early November to ask if they could arrange their own version of this event by staging a flag football game with the Firefighting/EMT students. Gibbons called the overwhelming staff support for the idea “amazing” and proudly reported that everyone’s efforts resulted in a donation to Backtstoppers of over $300.

Students handled the bulk of prep work required to make this event happen. They measured, prepped, and lined the field at the back of campus, gathered and transported all of the materials and supplies needed for the game, and restored everything afterward. They even helped chauffer seniors back up to the main campus after the event.

Bob Arcipowski, South Tech’s Precision Machining instructor, worked with his students to create a custom trophy for the winning team. Lt. Mike DeFoe and Officer Dave Wright who generously donated their time serving as referees. Finally, Jessica Kettler and Kathy Kummer supported the cause by collecting all ticket sales and entry fees.

Principal Jake Lohse and Assistant Principal Karista Koehler presented the trophy to the victors of this inaugural event, the Firefighting/EMT seniors, who won the game with a final score of 12 to 6.

Congratulations to both teams on a highly successful event.

To learn more about Backstoppers, click here: http://backstoppers.org/.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 5

Copyright © 2016-2018Notice of Non-Discrimination and Accommodation

Special School District Notice of Non-Discrimination and Accommodation

Special School District does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation against an individual based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, ancestry, disability, veteran status, age, or activity protected by federal or state law in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. Direct inquiries and complaints under this policy to Special School District’s Director – Compliance Liaison, 12110 Clayton Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63131, telephone (314) 989-8100 or to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, One Petticoat Lane, 1010 Walnut Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 320, Kansas City, Missouri 64106, telephone (816) 268-0550, fax (816) 268-0599, TDD (800) 877-8339, email OCR.KansasCity@ed.gov Information about the existence and location of services, activities, and facilities accessible to impaired persons can be obtained from the Special School District’s Director – Compliance Liaison at the phone number and address listed above.
314.989.7400 • 12721 West Watson Road, St. Louis, MO 63127