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49 Post-High Graduates in GRTS 49th Graduation
By Catherine Stortz Ripley C-T 05 16 17

Forty-nine post-high students of Grand River Technical School received certificates in the school's 49th annual graduation ceremony Friday evening, May 12, 2017, at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. Chillicothe R-2 Superintendent Dr. Roger Barnes welcomed those in attendance and introduced members of the Board of Education. "Grand River Technical School is a leader in Missouri and is highly respected by Missouri school districts," Barnes stated. "The quality instruction and programs offered at Grand River Technical School is second to none as evidenced by the placement rate of its students exiting GRTS programs." The superintendent cited a recent Times magazine online article in which the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that less than a quarter of new job openings will require a four-year college, bachelor of arts degree. "Career and technical education graduates who possess critical skills... tend to be better citizens than those without technical skills and that these are citizens who can problem solve and think critically."

Grand River Technical School graduates receive certificates of completion from GRTS director Jayme Caughron during graduation exercises at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center.
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Friday evening also included the presentation of the Outstanding Service Award to Kenneth Lauhoff and the Churchill Foundation GRTS Teacher's Scholarship to Anthony Hinnen, automotive service technology instructor.

Kaleb Gilliland, director of information technology at Pro Athlete, Inc., was the keynote speaker for Friday's graduation ceremony. Pro Athlete, Inc., is home of KALEB GILLILAND, C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Gilliland is a graduate of Southwest R-1 High School who earned a baseball scholarship to Maple Woods Community College, a bachelor's degree from University of Missouri, and computer networking certifications from Grand River Technical School. Gilliland, as introduced by Jenny Hughes, GRTS business education instructor, is "just as comfortable sitting in a deer stand with buddies in Ludlow as he is on a corporate jet traveling to a baseball game in New York." Gilliland graduated with a college degree in sports management and landed his first job as program director at the North Central Missouri YMCA in Brookfield where he worked for five years. "After finding out I was going to be a dad, I knew I wanted to do something different," he stated. "Technology had always been an interest of mine so I thought I could make something out of that with some formal training." Gilliland enrolled in the computer networking program in the fall of 2013 and landed his first job - an entry level desktop support engineer position - at Pro Athlete in April 2014 as a desktop support engineer. Since it was his first job in his new career field, he told the graduates that he wanted to focus on two things: getting to know the people he would be working with and doing his best at whatever was thrown his way. A couple of years later, he became director of information technology, a promotion he largely credited to the relationship he developed when he first began with the company. "The importance of people and building relationships is one of the five things I feel are the biggest contributing factors to being successful," Gilliland said. "Putting your family first, creating fans through service, challenging yourself and keeping humor in your daily life are the others."

Following his remarks, Debby Peery, GRTS vocational counselor, announced graduates who maintained perfect attendance. They are Blake Breckenridge, Zachary Hampton, John Kelsall and Brett Willis. She also announced students with straight "A"s. They are Jacob Caughron, Kelton Diggs, Jordan Williams, Justin Smith, Gabriel Reichert and Zane Smith.

From left: Jacob Caughron, Gabriel Reichert, Zane Smith, and Justin Smith
Not pictured: Kelton Diggs, Jordan Williams.
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

GRTS Assistant Director Adam Wolf stated that between 95 and 98 percent of GRTS post-high graduates are placed in jobs or enrolled in additional post-high training, and this year's class is no different. "This is our 49th graduation ceremony for GRTS and we, ironically, have 49 graduates in GRTS post-high programs that are graduating tonight," he noted. "We have additional students in our emergency medical services program that will graduate later this year and most of our programs at GRTS have high school students in them from 16 area sending schools."

Of the 49 post-high graduates receiving certificates Friday evening, 46 are entering the workforce, with 35 already having a job in their field; and 3 are continuing their education at GRTS in an advanced course. GRTS Director Jayme Caughron presented certificates to the graduates in the following fields of study: auto service technology, collision technology, computer/networking technology, industrial maintenance technology, building trades, diesel services technology and industrial welding.

Auto Service Technology - Austin Cordray (Purdin), Brad McGill (Brunswick), Jared Poore (New Cambria), Robert Tanner (Breckenridge); Collision Technology - Corey Adams (Chillicothe), Samantha Gericke (Cameron), Jeremiah Hibner (Chillicothe), Joshua Schempp (Hamilton); Computer Networking Technology - Jacob Caughron (Hale), Tommy Gladbach (Mendon), Colter Richardson (Cameron), Triston Walmsley (Spickard), Miles White (Chillicothe); Industrial Maintenance Technology - Caleb Cagle (Trenton), Logan Carlson (Ridgeway), John Kelsall (Trenton), Garrett Pettit (Gallatin), Justin Smith (Unionville), Joshua Vestal (Livonia), Bryce Whitney (Trenton), Brett Willis (Braymer), Trey Wilson (Mercer); Building Trades - Jesse Blakely (Chillicothe), Bradley Campbell (Unionville), Dalton Condron (Dawn), Ethan Dameron (Center), Andrew Davis (Chillicothe), Evan Failor (New London), Quincy Neighbors (Unionville), Brenden Smyser (Livonia); Diesel Services Technology - Tyler Anderson (Lathrop), Trent Bell (Carrollton), Blake Breckenridge (Lathrop), James Gray (Kingston), Zachary Hampton (Nelson), Kevin Harvey (Browning), Michael Leamer (Braymer), Matthieu Myers (Unionville), Travis Tranbarger (Hamilton), Jordan Williams (Carrollton); Industrial Welding - Dustin Billups (Marceline), Kelton Diggs (Chillicothe), Dylon Ewigman (Marceline), Evan Felton (Chillicothe), Casey Homann (Livonia), Dakota Neill (Holden), Gabriel Reichert (Brunswick), Zane Smith (Chillicothe), Raymond Walker (Hamilton).


Hinnen Awarded Churchill Scholarship

Anthony Hinnen, Grand River Technical School's automotive service technology instructor, was honored Friday evening with a $4,000 scholarship from the Kenneth F. Churchill and Eugenia M. Churchill Foundation, Inc., presented by foundation representative, David Macoubrie. The presentation came during the graduation exercises of GRTS students at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center.

David Macoubrie (left), Anthony Hinnen (right)
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Hinnen is completing his sixth year as a GRTS instructor. He is a former student of GRTS; and after working in the industry for some time, he returned to GRTS to become a teacher. He has spent his own time and money perfecting his craft and received extra industry training that will benefit the program and students The Churchill scholarship fund provides scholarships to teachers pursuing degrees and/or certifications in career and technical teacher education programs. It is designed to recognize and support academic/technical excellence and high standards, recognize and retain individuals who demonstrate the potential to become effective teachers, and reward teachers who contribute to student learning "outside the typical classroom" and those who devote time to providing training to members of the local community. To be eligible, teachers must be under contract to teach for GRTS and possess valid state teaching licenses for that period of time, have a proven track record of working with students in the classroom and at shop or clinical sites, and value education and have a strong desire to learn and teach; relate well to diverse students; be passionate, positive, energetic, creative and enthusiastic.


GRTS Honors Lauhoff for Outstanding Service

Grand River Technical School recognizes one supporter of the school each year with the Outstanding Community Service Award during the school's graduation ceremony. The award was established in 1984 to be given annually to one individual who has provided support to the school and its students, and who has donated many hours of service to students and GRTS.

This year's award was presented by GRTS Director Jayme Caughron to Kenneth Lauhoff. In making the presentation, Caughron stated Lauhoff is an active supporter of the community and Grand River Technical School. He has been involved in many community organizations for the benefit of local causes and retired at the end of 2016, after having served 20 years as Livingston County East District Commissioner.

GRTS Director Jayme Caughron (left), Kenneth Lauhoff (right)... Photo: GRTS

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