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GRTS Still Going Strong 40 Years Later
By MEGAN NEIS/C-T Staff Writer, Monday, February 12, 2007

CAPTION: Ron Wolf, co-director of the Grand River Technical School, spoke to a crowd of approximately 120 former and current technical school staff and students during a 40th anniversary supper held at the GRTS. The event featured remarks from several former administrators, teachers and staff.

C-T Photo/Megan Neis 

Forty years of the Grand River Technical School was celebrated with around 120 past and present students, teachers and administration at an anniversary supper. “Most of you have spent as much time in this building as you have with your own families,” Ron Wolf told the crowd. “People change, but the programs and this school keep going strong.” He noted that original technical school staff members, outstanding graduates, community support and current staff members are the four reasons why the vocational school has been such a success for the past 40 years.

The evening began with a buffet supper followed by the introduction of Roder Nyberg, the director of the technical school in 1967 when it first began. “I think this is a super evening and I think that this old school needs a little celebrating,” Nyberg said. Nyberg reflected on how much things have changed from the 1960s until today and explained how there was little money available for technical education then.

In April 1965, Nyberg was hired as the coordinator and director of industrial education. In August 1965, Nyberg explained that the state vocational director met with area school officials to discuss the purpose of the area's vocational, financial commitment and the responsibilities of the local school district. Northern and Hamlin, an architectural firm of Kansas City, were hired in October 1965. In December of that year, there was a special election held for a bond issue of $250,000 for the school with the state to match $250,000. The vote was 1,020 yes, and 197 no. In June 1966, Irvinbilt Company was hired as the contractor of the Chillicothe Area Vocational-Technical School for the cost of $420,470.

Tina-Avalon was the first area school to send students to the vocational school and the Chillicothe Area Vocational-Technical School was one of the first vocational schools to accept post-high students. According to Nyberg, 10 teachers were hired in the first year and 16 years later, seven of those teachers were still at the vocational school.

Dr. John Neal, a original school board member when the technical school began, also offered remarks during the celebration. “I've been so proud of this institution,” Neal said. “This school has been so successful over the years in educating people.” 

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