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56 Students Awarded Diplomas from GRTS
May 18, 2015
>> Program & Graduates

CAPTION: Grand River Technical School graduates receive certificates of completion from GRTS director Jayme Caughron (center) Friday evening during graduation exercises at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. Of the 56 post-high graduates, 45 are entering the workforce, with 32 of them already having a job. Eleven (11) are continuing their education.

C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Grand River Technical School conducted its 2015 graduation exercises Friday evening at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center with 57 graduates receiving certificates of completion. Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roger Barnes welcomed the graduates and their families and friends. Jenny Hughes, business education instructor at GRTS, introduced her brother, Lee Keith, as the guest speaker.

Keith is a 1971 Chillicothe High School graduate who has spent nearly 40 years in the banking business. He is an accomplished communicator, having spoken on leadership and ethics at the School of Finance and Economics in Southern China. He is a guest lecturer for several organizations with opportunities to speak in Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria and Japan. He presently lives in Kansas City, Mo. In his message to the graduates, Keith encouraged them to make the right choices, look at themselves not as who they are but who they can become, and to articulate a philosophy of life that will move them forward. He first talked about choices. "We all make six or seven major decisions in our lives that determine who we become and what we become," Keith said. He told a story about his brother, who graduated from high school in 1973. "Ray never made the honor roll in high school," Keith said. "He had no interest in English or history, but went to GRTS and took a drafting class." Ray didn't plan to attend college or vo-tech school; however, an instructor at GRTS encouraged him to pursue additional education. He enrolled in a drafting program at Central Missouri State University and discovered that he liked drafting. He transferred to Kansas State University and graduated at the top of his class in constructional engineering. From that point on, for the next 40 years, he has been building buildings across the United States, Keith said. Today, he's in charge of all the buildings for the largest agricultural bank in the world, "thanks to one of the instructors for encouraging him to make the right choices." Secondly, Keith told the graduates to look at themselves not as who they are, but who they can become. He said that he was president of his senior high school class and voted most likely to succeed; however, he dropped out of school during the second semester of college because he was too afraid to give a three-minute speech about his Christmas vacation. "I was so afraid of speaking in public, I just didn't drop out of school, I dropped out of college," he said. He then took a job working minimum wage, but soon he decided he wanted more and returned to college. After graduation, he didn't know what to do so he returned to Chillicothe, met Gary Dickinson, a bank president, while playing in a local tennis tournament. Dickinson asked Keith if he wanted to work for him. "I had never met the guy in my life, but he said 'I've been watching you since you were a freshmen in high school.'" "Folks, whether you are 18, 40 or 50, people are watching you and they're watching you to see what you can become, not what you are," Keith said. "I challenge you to allow yourself to not be hamstrung by what you can't do. Keep the bigger perspective. Don't let those fears overcome you." "What marks a person is not their successes, but what really marks a person is what happens when they fail or make mistakes and what do they do with that," he said. Finally, Keith told the graduates to determine their own philosophy of life. "If you don't have a philosophy in the culture we live in today, you will be a follower, not a leader," he said. "For me, I have a Judeo-Christian foundation of principles that was established over 2,000 years ago. That is my centerboard. That is my rudder. You need to find what is you rudder in life."

Following Keith's remarks, Marla Harrington, financial aid coordinator, announced that several graduates had maintained perfect attendance throughout the year. They were Kodie Barrett (Chillicothe), Jeremy Duckworth (Chillicothe), Hunter Homann (Livonia), Anthony Hughes (Grain Valley), Trent Putnam (Chillicothe), Jedd Stark (Tina), Andrew Wiedmaier (Cameron).

Seven graduates earned academic excellence awards for their straight "A" averages. Harrington announced those students as Dylan Branson (Hamilton), John Campbell (Unionville), Jordan Gardner (Brookfield), Hunter Homann (Livonia), Russell Morris (Trenton), Colton Quail (Brookfield), Ethan Smith (Princeton).

After the presentation of graduates by Harrington, Adam Wolf, assistant director of GRTS, then presented the graduates with their certificates in the following fields of study: auto service technology, building trades, child care services, collision technology, computer network administration, computer/networking technology, industrial welding, advanced diesel technology, diesel services technology and industrial maintenance technology. Wolf noted that between 56 of the post high graduates, 45 are entering the workforce, with 32 already having jobs, and 11 are continuing their education. There are 56 graduates in the post high programs with an additional 22 in the school's Emergency Medical Services program who will graduate later this year. Most of GRTS's programs have high school students in them from 16 area sending schools.

Following the presentation of certificates, the Outstanding Service Award was presented to Bill Meeker by Darrell Wright, Chillicothe fire chief and former EMS instructor at GRTS.

Also during the ceremony, Julie Bothwell, representing the Kenneth F. Churchill and Eugenia M. Churchill Foundation, Inc., presented the teacher scholarship, in the amount of $4,000 to Jenny Hughes, business education instructor at GRTS.

Grand River Technical School graduates are as follows: Auto Service Technology - Blake Bates (Polo), John Campbell, (Unionville) Joseph DePeralta (Cameron), Matthew Sebastian (Carrollton); Building Trades - Kodie Barrett (Chillicothe), Cody Engel (Gallatin), Dustin Gydesen (Hamilton), Logan Lyons (Chillicothe); Child Care Services - Amanda Cooper (Hamilton); Collision Technology - Jordan Beaderstadt (Chillicothe), Hunter Burton (Chillicothe), Tory Carnahan (Unionville), Trevin Guthrie (Moberly), Cody Thurmond (Columbia); Computer Network Administration - Jeremy Duckworth (Chula); Computer/Networking Technology - Scott Anders (New Cambria), Shawn Brookman (Chula), Nathan Cosgrove (Braymer), Cody Lamp (Chillicothe), Breanna Millard (Carrollton), Triston Oliver (Breckenridge), Jared Typaldos (Chillicothe), Charles Walmsley (Spickard), Logan Wilson (Chillicothe); Industrial Welding - Dakoda Anson (Trenton), Dylan Branson (Hamilton), Cody Fry (Cameron), Jordan Gardner (Brookfield), Domenic Guilford (Brookfield), Russell Morris (Trenton), Matthew Moser (Brookfield), Jeremy Price (Mercer), Colton Quail (Brookfield), Ethan Smith (Princeton); Advanced Diesel Technology - William Nowlin (Hallsville); Diesel Services Technology - Dustin Clark (Unionville), Hunter Homann (Livonia), Anthony Hughes (Grain Valley), Stuart Jones (Cameron), Darin Martin (Davis City, Iowa), Paul Moseley (Rothville), Alex Oberreuter (Lucerne), Tyler Phillips (Princeton), Eric Sallman (Overland Park, Kan.), Andrew Wiedmaier (Cameron); Industrial Maintenance Technology - Kyle Ausmus (Macon), Dakota Conger (Kidder), Todd Critten (Chillicothe), Timothy Gladhill (Macon), Jacob Hamilton (Meadville), Patrick Howard (Macon), Aaron Moore (Utica), Harrison Pettit, (Gallatin), Trent Putnam (Chillicothe), Jedd Stark (Tina), Eric Straatman (Glasgow), Mason Taylor (Trenton).

The graduation ceremony concluded with a prayer by Mike Harrington, industrial maintenance instructor.

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