The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Next Generation

April 29, 2010

Vocational school welcomes hundreds of future students, parents at orientation

JEFFERSON — “Back to school” might seem like a weird statement seeing how we are just about done with the school year, but on April 20 students from across the county turned out at the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School to look at the facilities and meet with teachers and school officials. People began arriving before the event’s official starting time of 6:30 p.m.; more than 500 people attended during the evening.

Most of the students in attendance have already been accepted into their vocational labs, and were accompanied by their parents or family members. Principal Jon Whipple said the night presents a great chance for parents of future students to understand what the ACJVS experience is all about.

“Parents may not have had any contact with the school before tonight, so this event provides an opportunity to clarify their expectations, get rid of misconceptions, and understand some of the expectations we have for their sons or daughters,” Whipple said.

After a welcome speech given by superintendent Jerome Brockway, Whipple and dean of students Paul Stofan talked briefly about some of the school’s expectations and procedures. After that, students had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time in their career tech labs and ask their instructor questions about what to expect in their classes this fall.

Student ambassadors were on hand, as well as student volunteers from many of the career tech programs, to answer student and parent questions and guide them around the campus.

Talent show rocks

The April 1 Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School talent show dazzled the eyes of the audience with a wide sample of the school’s talented student body. Acts encompassed everything from country singing to an opera-style interpretation of a song from a Broadway musical.

“These acts were phenomenal,” said student Crystal Torres.

There were 17 performances this year, nearly all of them were as great as the first one, a dance medley performed by marketing seniors Sean Myers, Zack Honkonen and Vanessa Dragon. They won first place in the “Group Talent” category for their efforts.

The different categories that students were able to participate in were lip syncing, talent as a single performer and group talent. A panel of judges composed of ACJVS staff ranked the student performances in order to determine the winners in each category.

The overall winner of the show was Harley Katz, who also won first place in the “Single Talent” category, thanks to her breathtaking performance of an Andrew Lloyd Webber song, “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.”

Other winners include: Lip Sync category, Single Performer, first place, Howard Dolak; second place, Danielle Jablonski

Lip Sync category, Group, first place, Christopher Bishop, Brett Grow, Irva Savage

Talent category, Group, first place, Shawn Myers, Zach Honkonen and Vanessa Dragon; second place, Brenna Sanger and Katie Moiser; third place, April Hilger and Natalie Sleigh

Talent category, Single, first place, Harley Katz; second place, Danielle Gay; third place, Samantha Addair

Also, a special “People’s Choice Award” was given to crowd favorite Hanna Bowser, who sang “Born to Fly,” and received a standing ovation.

Quizzes not just classroom

SkillsUSA contests cover many different types of competition, but there is one that is very similar to the television show “Jeopardy” which students compete in. That contest is known as Quiz Bowl, and while students do not need to give their response in the form of a question, they do have to have a broad knowledge of academic subjects.

The team that correctly answers a question gets a point, while an incorrect answer will cost a team a point. Teams consist of five people. The five ACJVS representatives are Haley Zmarzly, R.J. DiGiacomo, Courtney Stroeter, Christina Pape and Bud Watson. Their adviser is Karen Uspenski. Good luck at competition, everyone.

Power equipment students do well

A group of ACJVS students in the Power Equipment career lab participated in a competition at the Mahoning County Career Center in Canfield on April 15. The student team of Jesse Leonard, Tony Buttitta and Kyle Vincent took part in the Small Engine Diagnostics competition.

Power Equipment instructor Jeff Stuyvesant said the high pressure competition has a student assigned to a row containing eight skills to be demonstrated. Students have 10 minutes to perform the task or skill that is in front of them. They are also required to solve two physical problems in a live, small engine, and they must identify and repair the problems diagnosed.

The ACJVS team placed third in the district and only missed going on to state competition by four points. Good job, guys!

Culinary students travel to West Side Market

Students from the Culinary I and Culinary II programs ventured out to the West Side Market on March 31 to get a taste of what a restaurant owner might need to do to establish and run a business.

To familiarize themselves with all that the market has to offer, Culinary I students went on a specialized scavenger hunt. Culinary II students helped serve as guides to help them locate all kinds of produce that were on their lists.

The Culinary II students were given the task of finding specific prices for all sorts of meat, fruit and vegetables in order to arrive at a base cost for meal preparation. The idea is to get students to recognize how to put together a menu, while still being able to recognize where the profit point is reached in creating a tasty meal.

Culinary instructor Dave Kiphart said the visit is all about understanding the different ethnic foods, seasonal foods, pricing and ways to incorporate these items in a restaurant.

Some students said the hands-on experience taught them how important it is to learn how to test the produce and negotiate with fruit and produce vendors before buying anything.

Health Care Tech

practical training

The 2009-2010 Health Care Technologies junior class is participating in another round of clinical days. Mary Bettcher, Health Care Technologies instructor, has taken her participating students to the Jefferson Geriatric Center. These students are paired up with one of the center’s residents to take care of for the day, typically doing everything a health care worker would perform in a typical day. This practical experience is giving students a real-world look at what it is like to be an aide in a retirement home.

Hey batter, batter!

Spring is officially here, and you can hear turkeys gobbling and see people going through the woods picking morel mushrooms. Here at the ACJVS, spring means it is time for the student softball tournament. The tournament pits teams from most of the lab classes against one another in one-pitch softball games, which are held during lunch periods. Single-gender and co-ed teams can take part in the double-elimination tournament. The winning team then takes on a faculty all-star team for the right to brag about being the school champion. The first game of the season was held Tuesday.

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