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Welding Skills Pay Off for South Tech Graduate
Aaron Dunse, a Parkway South Alumni and a 2013 graduate from South Tech, stopped by to visit to his former instructor Mr. Holt.
Aaron Dunse, a Parkway South Alumni and a 2013 graduate from South Tech, stopped by to visit to his former instructor Mr. Holt.

Aaron Dunse, a Parkway South Alumni and a 2013 graduate of South Tech, stopped by on Thursday, December 1st, to pay a visit to his former instructor Mr. Holt and show off his weekly paychecks. On average Aaron grosses $5300 per week and clears roughly $3500 per week. In the past 5 months, he has grossed over 70,000 dollars!

Aaron started making this shortly after graduating from the Missouri Welding Institute when he became employed by JV Industrial Company which is based out of Texas. Aaron is a specialized pipe welder and he travels the countryside working in power plants and oil refineries during their shutdown periods. Aaron enjoys what he does and possesses a skill that is highly sought after in this industry.

Aaron told Mr. Holt…

I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for the welding class at Tech. I am very thankful I made the decision to choose this career path.

Aaron’s advice to students considering South Tech would be…

…if you’re going to do it, put forth everything you have.

#TeamCaleighRae and the South Technical Early Childhood Education Major

caleigh2Caleigh Rae Jackson and her twin brother, Carter, enrolled in the South Tech Early Childhood Center in August and it didn’t take long for teachers and classmates to become enamored and inspired. Caleigh, nearly 3 years old, was born with Apert syndrome. Apert syndrome is a genetic anomaly characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones.

When Caleigh first started at South Technical, she was unable to walk without assistance. Five days later, Caleigh amazed her peers, her teachers, and her family by walking across the preschool room. She quickly began walking laps around the room and hasn’t stopped since.

caleigh3Caleigh and Carter’s dad, Chris Jackson, who works for SSD’s Bridges Program, is the co-founder of the Rae of Sunshine Foundation along with his wife, Crystal Jackson. The foundation raises awareness for Apert syndrome and craniofacial conditions.

When the high school students in the Early Childhood Education major discovered the Rae of Sunshine Foundation was holding a 5K run/walk, they quickly leapt into action. The students made #TeamCaleighRae t-shirts and woke up early Saturday, September 24th to drive to Spanish Lake where they joined a crowd of supporters to walk the 5K.

College and Career Options Night

Students and parents are invited to attend South Tech’s annual College and Career Options Night that is taking place on Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. This night is designed to learn about post-secondary options specific to your program. You can also learn about the military and the various branches. There will also be presentations on financial aid and how to secure your South Tech articulated college credit. You can click on October 13th on our school calendar to open a flyer for this event.


  • 6:00 to 8:00 Browse post-secondary options and meet with representatives from trade and technical colleges, nursing colleges, universities, labor organizations and more
  • 6:15 to 6:45 Learn how to secure your St. Louis Community College Articulated College Credit in Room C-205
  • 6:00 to 6:45 and 7 :15 to 8:00 Financial Aid Presentation from the Scholarship Foundation in the Business Conference Room
  • 6:45 to 7:15 Meet with teachers in their classrooms to hear presentations on post-secondary options specific to your program
  • 6:15 to 6:30 and 7 :30 to 7:45 Military Presentation about branch options in the gym
  • 6:00 to 6:45 and 7 :15 to 8:00 Teachers available in their classrooms for individual questions
Seniors See Possibilities at Boeing

The Electronics and Robotics Engineering, and Precision Machining seniors took a field trip to The Boeing Company located near the airport. A presentation was made to the students regarding a program called Assembly Pre-Employment Training that Boeing has developed in partnership with Workforce Solutions Group and the St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. Students can apply for the 10-week assembly program or the four-week composite mechanic training program once accepted there is no cost to the student. Students that complete the program successfully, obtains specific WorkKeys Assessment scores will be guaranteed a job interview with the Boeing Company. Once the student is hired at Boeing, they will receive benefits and become eligible for tuition reimbursement after one year. For more information please go to www.stlcc.edu/boeing.

The second part of the day included a tour of the Prolog room and experience with the hands-on virtual reality headsets. The day was concluded with a tour of several of the labs were structures are tested. These tests determine the maintenance schedule for aircraft and relay important information regarding the life expectancy of the tested object.

Through this day, students learned about the variety of job possibilities available globally through Boeing. Boeing is an aerospace leader and builds commercial aircraft, defense space and security systems and more. This day got many students excited about the possibilities after high school and working on top-secret, really cool stuff!

South Tech Engineering Students Win Gateway Robotics Challenge!

The South Tech Electronics and Robotics engineering students FIRST Robotics Team 1658 competed at the Gateway Robotics Challenge October 1st at Hazelwood Central High School. 26 teams from Missouri and Illinois competed.

After 8 qualification matches, Team 1658 was seeded number 1 for the finals and went undefeated to win the tournament.

The Gateway Robotics Challenge is an off-season FIRST robotics competition event where teams are invited to compete using their previous season’s robots. The event was played using the 2016 FIRST Stronghold game rules on an official FRC playing field. This event gives new students the opportunity to experience an FRC competition.

“Our students competed with grace and professionalism. I was very proud of how they handled the pressure of this competition. They are very excited about the upcoming FIRST Robotics Season which begins in January 2017.” said Mr. Rola the Engineering Instructor. Congratulations South Tech Engineering FIRST Robotics Team 1658!

So You Want to Be a Chef?

This article first appeared on South County Times and was written on March 18, 2011. You can view the original article here. The article has been updated by South Tech staff to include current names and titles.

Cooks in chef’s hats and spotless white coats diligently man their work stations in the kitchen at South Technical High School in Sunset Hills. One group slices and dices; another crafts pretty white roses from frosting. Brittany Brookins creates pastries as Chef Melissa Manness looks on. She has been accepted into the Culinary Institute of America.

These chefs-to-be are students in South Tech’s Culinary Arts program. South Tech’s culinary arts program, led by Chefs Melissa Manness and David Bass, is one of more than 30 career-oriented education programs offered at the school.

This program is a great opportunity for kids to find out if this is a career they want to pursue,” said Program Advisory Board Chair Diane Stubblefield. “They receive ServSafe (food safety) certification and they learn a lot, not only on the cooking end but the baking end.

Career Focused

South Technical High School helps train students for specific careers, like court reporting and automotive technology. The programs give students practical experience and a considerable leg up when joining the work force or moving on to college.

The school accepts students from every school district in St. Louis County. Programs are offered to juniors and seniors in place of regular elective classes like band or drama.

Instead of going down the hall for their electives, students at high schools like Lindbergh and Kirkwood head to the South Tech campus on West Watson Road in either the morning or the afternoon. Bus transportation is provided for those who don’t wish to drive.

One of the biggest misconceptions about South Tech is that its programs are meant for students who aren’t succeeding at their home high schools, said Manness. In fact, the opposite is true.

They have to have decent attendance and grades because we’re one of the more popular programs,” she said. “We’re slowly becoming more in demand, with people wanting to learn a skilled trade. We’ll take capacity in the culinary arts program, which is 60 students.

Manness said all the teachers in her program have real-world experience.

I was a hiring manager at all the different restaurants I worked for, so I can tell you how to be successful, she said. That includes knowing which vegetable is which; how to identify cooking utensils; and learning how to put things back where they belong.

Some of the students cook at home with grandma or mom, or maybe mom or dad’s a cook,” said Bass, who worked for Ameristar Casinos and who was also the research and development chef for Qdoba. “At the very least you can learn to cook for yourself.

Culinary Success

Two of the many outstanding students in South Tech’s culinary arts program are Brittany Brookins and David Dahle, both seniors at Lindbergh High School. They are among 12 students who will be heading to state at the end of March.

Brookins, an aspiring pastry chef, has an armful of medals acquired over the past two years in district and state competitions. She was recently accepted into the Culinary Institute of America.

“I’ve been baking since I was little,” she said. “I wore out five Easy-Bake Ovens. I also watch a lot of Martha Stewart. I thought it would be a great experience to be here and work in a real kitchen.”

The upcoming state competition, like the culinary arts program at South Tech, focuses on real-world skills. In addition to cooking and baking competitions, some students will compete in leadership contests that assess talents like job interview skills.

“I will be competing in knife cutting, like julienne, small dice, large dice,” said Dahle. “I also have to cook a four-course meal. I have to cut a chicken into eight pieces, then turn it into chicken stock. I have to do a pan-seared chicken; another course is poached shrimp. I also have to do a scent test. I have to identify 10 spices blindfolded.”

Preparing for the Future

Kirkwood High School (KHS) senior Brody Kampschroeder takes his core classes at KHS in the morning, then heads over to South Tech for the afternoon.

“I’m always doing culinary stuff at home, so my mom suggested it,” he said. “I get to interact with people I’d never get to meet otherwise.”

Like many of his fellow students, Kampschroeder wants to study in the culinary arts program at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park after high school graduation.

“I’ve heard their program is just as good as L’Ecole Culinaire, only cheaper,” he said.

Dahle also has plans to attend Forest Park, and said he is grateful for the head start South Tech has given him.

Only two or three students out of our program have not gone on to post-secondary education,” said Manness. “We have articulating credits at Forest Park, so they get a jump on college.

There is also a hands-on program for younger students that can help them determine if South Tech might play a role in their future, said Manness.

Generally during the first or second week of summer we offer camps for middle schoolers so they can see what it’s like, she said.

South Tech culinary arts students also accept some catering requests from the general public. They recently prepared a breakfast for MPC, a group of media professionals. The event was hosted on the South Tech campus.

We’ve done an event off-site for the chamber where we went to a golf club and did barbecue,” said Manness. “It gives the students an opportunity to get out and see what it’s like.

For more information about catering opportunities, call Manness at 314-989-7460.

Other programs at South Tech also welcome interaction with the public, like the automotive technology and cosmetology departments. For more information, contact the individual instructor. Names and contact information are available at www.southtechnical.org.

High schoolers wanting more information about South Technical High School’s programs can talk with their home school counselor, or call South Tech at 314-989-7400. A complete list of programs is available online.

The South Tech Flock

Those who frequent the South Tech campus have likely noticed the Veterinary Assistant’s assorted flock of fowls milling around their building. The Veterinary Assistant Program is the proud owner of several different species of chickens, including Frizzles, Polish Cresteds, and Laced Wyandottes; and their large Americana Rooster named Buckbeak.buckbeak1

However, the birds that get the most attention are the three large, white and black, Royal Palm Turkeys. The turkey flock consists of two hens, Jive and Gobbriella, and a tom, Friar Turk. This species of turkey was bred not for meat production, but for their ornamental appeal, and that is exactly the purpose they serve at South Tech. Safe to say many people have stopped by the program to ask about the large white birds that follow them up to the door and have such curious personalities. Friar Turk, with his beautiful plumage and bright red and blue face, has been named the unofficial South Tech mascot by many!

turkey2The South Tech flock is not merely for show though; they have been a great educational tool to aid in teaching students the proper handling and husbandry for farm fowl. An “Urban Chicken Movement” has spread throughout the country and these birds are being viewed more as pets, than dinner. These birds have helped bring together several of the programs as well. Construction and masonry helped build their coop and yard, and culinary regularly feeds them their extra food scraps. Keeping the flock healthy and happy has certainly been a group effort.

Next time you are taking a walk around the South Tech campus and see these beautiful birds feel free to stop into the Veterinary Assistant Program and ask about our birds and their care!

The Veterinary Assistant Program & Saving G.R.A.C.E. Rescue Partnership

The instructors of the veterinary assistant program have been rooted in the rescue community for many years now; Ms. Hobbs for over twenty years, and Ms. Zengerling for over seven. They have worked hard to integrate rescue animals into their program in order to take their students’ experience level with animals to the next step, as well as open up their eyes to the animal welfare issues plaguing our country.

The first foster dog taken in by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and cared for by the veterinary assistant students
Cliff, the first foster dog taken in by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and cared for by the veterinary assistant students.

Over the summer, Ms. Zengerling decided to take on the responsibility of creating her own animal rescue group, Saving G.R.A.C.E. “Giving Rescue Animals Chances Everyday”. This rescue group was created to partner with the veterinary assistant program at South Technical High School. The instructors work together to rescue animals that will fit into the program’s curriculum and environment, many of these animals have special medical needs. Medical needs that the instructors are able to teach their students about, and where the student’s then help to nurse these animals back to health and then find them great homes.

Instructors and students have been working together on fundraising and volunteer opportunities that they can also integrate into their FFA chapter; soon they will work together to run adoption events at a local pet store.

Working with Saving G.R.A.C.E. and exposing students to real animals needing real medical and emotional care, has truly instilled a sense of responsibility and pride in the veterinary assistant students that is quite apparent. Not to mention they gain hands-on skill and knowledge that will carry them far into the career field and college.

The first foster animal rescued by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and brought into the program to work with students was a dog named Cliff. Cliff was found tied to a tree in a local park, and as you can see in the picture he was in very bad shape.

Together the teachers and students learned that Cliff had demodex mange, skin infections, extreme emaciation, a previously fractured pelvis, and more.

Everyone fell in love with Cliff through his recovery time with us; students also learned how to perform a skin-scrape, give medicated baths, medicate animals with liquid and capsules, and proper post-surgical care.

As a team the teachers and students turned Cliff into a whole new dog. Throughout his time with us Cliff kept the same trusting, and happy personality; the fact that he still loved humans so strongly and was always wagging his tail was something everyone who met Cliff found to be amazing, and drew personal strength from.

Thanks to the care and compassion Cliff received, he has recovered fully and was recently adopted into an amazing family! Cliff is one of many special needs fosters that Saving G.R.A.C.E and the veterinary assistant program will work together to save and give a happy ending!

Check out the Saving G.R.A.C.E. website to see the awesome things they have been doing.

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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.
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