Birth of a Business in 5 Hours or Less
Students from all of Raleigh County's high schools came with friends, worked with relative strangers and learned about the intricacies of entrepreneurship Monday at the annual High School Business Symposium.
For approximately 23 years, the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce has helped sponsor the event with Raleigh County Schools and the Academy of Careers and Technology. "The students get hands-on experience on how to run a business," said Ellen Taylor, president and CEO of the chamber. Taylor said that teachers at each of Raleigh County's four public high schools chose students to participate in the symposium. Approximately 84 students were hard at work establishing businesses for a cruise line (the theme for the 2016 symposium). "It's a good program," Taylor said. "It never ceases to amaze me how creative the students get. We're happy as the chamber to partner with ACT and Raleigh County Schools to do this program. We appreciate all of our sponsors as well."
Miles Smith of the Ohio Youth Leadership Association was helping run the show. Smith took part in the symposium when he was a student at Woodrow Wilson High School. Now he is giving back to the program that helped launch his career. Smith said that he was sponsoring the prize for the winning group's business, a scholarship to a free enterprise camp at Camp Horseshoe in Tucker County.
"The symposium instantly makes the students sweat," Smith said. "It's a very competitive environment and gets the participants creative juices flowing." Smith said that no two businesses created throughout the day are the same and students are put into mixed groups, so students may be working with people they have never met. "It gets the students artistic and entrepreneurship minds working together," Smith said. "We want to show students if they imagine it, they can do it. At the end of the day they're going to have an operable business."
Independence junior Nick Kostenko, whose group was developing a virtual reality experience for a cruise ship, said, "I'm here to have fun and get some future business experience."
Groups were working on elaborate plans on who would be attracted to their chosen business, designing business cards and slogans, said Peyton Michaels, a junior at Shady Spring High School.
Michaels’ group was creating an Indiana Jones-themed dinner show for their business. "It's intriguing to talk and work with students from other schools," Michaels said. "You don't see these people every day. It helps the creativity flow."
Students get a full mock business experience from creation, to purchasing property as well as creating advertisements, said Kyle Saunders, Independence High School junior. Saunders' group had founded a Tiki Treats snack bar for their cruise ship business opportunity. Saunders said the symposium does a great job of letting students use skills they've actually learned in an entrepreneurial environment. — Email: email@example.com; Follow on Twitter @RHFrye
ProStart Restaurant Management Instructor Sought
ACT is currently advertising for a ProStart Restaurant Management instructor. Culinary school degree and/or experience in commercial culinary field preferred. The qualified candidate must document four years of wage-earning experience in a relevant field. Additional qualifications are listed in the job posting, which can be viewed at https://ats1.searchsoft.net/ats/trans_login?COMPANY_ID=00012808. Posting closes May 9, 2016.
ACT Students Have Big Success at Skills Conference
With their hands-on knowledge in the fields of architectural drafting, criminal justice, graphic communication, masonry and more, Academy of Careers and Technology students recently got their hands on awards at a state competition.
Forty-one students from ACT in Raleigh County attended the 2016 West Virginia SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference at Camp Dawson in Kingwood. Of those 41 students, 22 took home medals celebrating their knowledge learned from ACT. Of those medals, 13 were gold, three silver and six bronze.
“I am very pleased for these students,” said Dave Cole, graphic communications teacher at ACT and coordinator for ACT for the Skills event. Cole said this was the largest group of students from ACT to attend and compete at the Skills conference. “It speaks wonders that we’re taking more students each year and that there are more teachers getting involved,” Cole said. “I just want to say thank you to all of the teachers and students for participating. It all begins with the teachers.”
Senior Brityn Stump won a gold for architectural drafting. Stump said he was given some sketches of a residential floor plan for which he had to calculate elevations and dimensions as part of his competition. This was the second year in a row Stump had brought home a gold medal for his work in architectural drafting. “It was pretty nice and cool to win,” Stump said. He said he kind of fell into the program after his mom had talked him into the ACT program. Now, after graduation he plans to pursue a higher education degree in civil engineering.
Senior classmate Aaron Hunt also brought home gold for his work and knowledge in technical drafting. “I didn’t start out in this field,” Hunt said. “My mom suggested that I should start some vo-tech classes thinking it would be good for me.” And from there Hunt fell into getting more fascinated in technical drafting. Now, after winning accolades for his knowledge, he’s set to graduate and pursue civil engineering at West Virginia University. “It was an honor,” Hunt said of winning. “I was real excited to have won.”
Another of ACT’s Skills competition coordinators, Anne Meadows also expressed pride in the school and students for their success. “This was totally expected,” Meadows said. “The kids are great.” Attending the Skills Conference at Camp Dawson is sometimes more than just letting students use their knowledge in a competition format.
“This is a real experience for them,” Meadows said. “Sometimes this is the first time some of these students have been outside of Raleigh County. And then they get to demonstrate their skills against kids from other counties. It’s a real life-changing experience for them.” Meadows said taking part in the conference allows the school and students to demonstrate the kinds of skill sets that can be learned at ACT. “Students can graduate from here and go straight into the workforce with award-winning skills,” Meadows said.
ACT Principal Charles Pack also praised the teachers for their roles in students’ successes. “Their success is just a reflection of the great job our teachers are doing,” Pack said. “This school is doing a great job of preparing students for their future careers.”
More than 800 students participated at the statewide SkillsUSA event designed to help ensure that America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. SkillsUSA is the nation’s largest showcase for career and technical education.
— Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; follow on Twitter @RHFrye
ACT Students Compete at State Conference
Forty-one students represented the Academy of Careers and Technology at the 2016 WV SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference at Camp Dawson in Kingwood WV on April 15-16, 2016. More than eight hundred students from career and technical education centers and community colleges competed at the statewide event. SkillsUSA is the nation's largest showcase for career and technical education.
This nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. More than 1,000 trade associations and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA nationally through financial aid, in-kind contributions, and employment involvement. Fifty-eight occupational and leadership competitions gave students to opportunity to demonstrate their technical and professional skills in everything from architectural drafting to welding.
ACT students competed in twenty-five different competitions and the following students won medals:
- Brityn Stump
- GOLD, Architectural Drafting (Secondary)
- Shannon Rakes - BRONZE, Carpentry (Postsecondary)
- Tiffany Scarbrough - SILVER, Cosmetology (Postsecondary)
- Hunter Hackworth, Cean Keeney, and Brooke Pudder - BRONZE, Crime Scene Investigation (Secondary)
- Cody Blevins - GOLD, Criminal Justice (Postsecondary)
- Anthony Schumann - SILVER, Diesel Equipment Technology (Postsecondary)
- Jamie Mowell and Heather Dove - GOLD, Esthetics (Postsecondary)
- Nathan Long - GOLD, Graphic Communications (Secondary)
- Ryan Heimer - BRONZE, Industrial Motor Control (Secondary)
- Alex Daniels - BRONZE, Job Skill Demonstration Open (Secondary)
- Bryan Deweese - SILVER, Masonry (Postsecondary)
- Tyler Thompson - GOLD, Masonry (Secondary)
- Miranda Baber and Kyndl Miller - GOLD, Nail Care (Postsecondary)
- Erica Fenton - GOLD, Pin Design (Postsecondary)
- Aaron Hunt - GOLD, Technical Drafting (Secondary)
- Ian Boyd, Randall Kesler, and Kenneth Raye - GOLD, Welding Fabrication (Postsecondary)
Also competing were Patrick Mullins, Jordan Reed, Justin Ward, Thomas Rodgers, Dakota Cooper, Joshua Gilger, Tyler Pauley, Robert Kessler, Scott Priddy, Scarlett Farley, Angelelle Rumbold, Morgan Perry, Melissa Hazelwood, Blake Thompson, Brandon Bailey, Samuel Morton, Nicholas Blake, Garrett Cantly, and Trevor Quarles.
Gold medalists are eligible to compete at the national competition in Louisville KY in June.
Cosmetology Program Accepting Applications
The Cosmetology program is accepting applications for classes beginning in August, 2016. Applicants must complete the following steps to be considered for admission:
- Each individual must complete the TABE pretest by June 10, 2016. The TABE test is administered by the Raleigh County Adult Learning Center. Please call 304-256-3964 to schedule your TABE test. There is no charge for the test.
- TABE pretest scores will be used to determine which individuals will be selected to interview with the Cosmetology faculty.
- Candidates for admission will be selected on the basis of TABE pre-test scores and interview results.
- For information about general admissions requirements and financial aid, visit the website at http://wvact.net/adults.html.
National Technical Honor Society Inducts New Members
Sixty-eight students were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society on Thursday, March 24, 2016. The National Technical Honor Society is a curricular organization for outstanding students in career and technical education institutions in the United States. Today NTHS serves over 2,500 member schools and universities throughout the nation.
The goals of the National Technical Honor Society include:
- Rewarding excellence in workforce education
- Developing self-esteem, pride
- Encouraging students to reach higher levels of achievement
- Promoting strong values-honesty, responsibility, initiative, teamwork, leadership, citizenship, scholarship
- Helping schools build effective business partnerships
- Building a strong positive image for workforce education in America
"Can"struction a Hugh Success
In conjunction with the 15th Annual Festival of Trees, the Academy of Careers and Technology conducted a nonperishable food drive. For each item donated, open house attendees received a speacial token to vote for their favorite tree. In the three-hour period between 5 - 8 PM, several hundred items were collected."Snoopy's Christmas" was "can"structed in the school's lobby in the three days following the Festival. Students and faculty wrapped the more than 900 items in white, green, and red paper and engineered the seasonal display. All food items were donated to ACT's community service partner, Brian's Safehouse. The display was submitted to WV SkillsUSA as part of its statewide community service project. Entries will be judged on creativity, seasonal theme, color coordination, difficulty level, and dimensional appearance. Two awards, "Most Items Collected" and "Best Sculpture", will be given at the State Leadership and Skills Conference in April.
2015 Festival of Trees Winners Announced
The fifteenth annual Festival of Trees was a huge success, with more than 600 guests viewing the trees in person during the open house on December 15, 2015. Each person in attendance received tokens to vote for his favorite traditional display and a red token to vote for his or her favorite nontraditional display. A "traditional" display featured a real or artificial tree, while "nontraditional" displays highlighted trees that were constructed or manufactured. A third, special category was introduced this year. For each non-perishable food item donated during the open house, individuals received a special token that could be used to vote for any tree. The tree receiving the most special tokens received the Community Spirit award. All food items will be donated to Brian's Safehouse. ACT again hosted a virtual Festival of Trees on its Facebook page at http://facebook.com/wvact. The site registered more than 1,700 visits and 991 votes.
This year's winners include:
Best of Show
Careers in Education, First Place
Law & Public Safety, Second Place
Pharmacy Technician, Third Place
Electrical Technician (Day), First Place
Carpentry, Second Place
Diesel Equipment Technology, Third Place
Community Spirit Award
Practical Nursing, First Place
Therapeutic Services, Second Place
Electrical Technician (Night), Third Place
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ACT's 15th Annual Festival of Trees Showcases Student Skills
Students decked the halls of the Academy of Careers and Technology (ACT) Tuesday night with a variety of wooden, metal, electric, electronic and traditional Christmas trees, all of which showcased the programs in which they are enrolled and the skills that they have learned. In its 15th year, the Festival of Trees typically welcomes around 1,000 visitors to see the unique trees and to vote for their favorites.
Cris Workman’s favorite was an elaborate metal tree with curlicue designsdescending in size from top to bottom, crafted by thewelding class. "It’s really neat with all the curls and the lights," Workman said. "You can tell it took a lot of time." Workman’s son, Andy, actually had a hand in the construction of the tree. Her daughter, Brittany, helped with a tree at the ACT, too.
Brittany’s class, Careers in Education, created a tree focused on the kids they hope to work with someday. Local pre-schoolers visit the class on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help the ACT students train for their future careers. Brittany said the kids made the ornaments that adorned their traditional tree.
Another traditional tree was decorated in ribbons of all colors by the practical nursing program in effort to raise awareness about diseases. Each of the 23 students hung ribbons and photos on the tree for friends and family members who have been affected by a disease. Each color represented a different disease — pink for breast cancer, purple for Alzheimer’s, red for heart disease, white for lung cancer, among others. The students provided supplies and welcomed visitors to hang their own remembrance ribbons on the tree Tuesday night.
"It means a lot for us to be able to share this with the community," said Allison McClure, who is set to graduate from the practical nursing program in July 2016. She added, "With nursing, you have to be caring and loving."
Kevin Bolen, Adult Education Coordinator, said the construction of the trees is a great way for the students to practice what they’ve learned, as well as for the community to see what programs are offered at the academy. Bolen said local judges selected their favorite traditional and non-traditional trees to win prizes, and attendees at the open house were asked to choose the winner for "People’s Choice" in each category.
He said this year’s event also included a charitable component — anyone who brought a non-perishable food item was given a special token to vote on a tree, and the tree with the most tokens was awarded for community spirit. Food collected at the event is being donated to Brian’s Safehouse, an in-patient program in Mount Hope that helps those struggling with addiction.
For those who missed the open house, the trees will still be on display for a few more days at the ACT, located at 390 Stanaford Road in Beckley. For more information, call 304-256-4615 or visit wvact.net.
By Wendy Holdren, Register-Herald Reporter
ACT Hosts 15th Annual Festival of Trees
Each year in December, career and technical education students and instructors design, sometimes build, and decorate a tree that represents the occupational area for which they are training. Sometimes “traditional” (live or artificial) trees are used and sometimes “nontraditional” trees are built from scratch.
The Festival of Trees is free and open to the public on Tuesday, December 15, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM at the Academy of Careers and Technology at 390 Stanaford Road in Beckley. Twenty-four trees will grace the school's lobby during the event. Members of the community attending the Open House will be given tokens to vote for their favorite trees. The winner in the Traditional and Nontraditional categories will receive a "traveling" trophy that make its way around the building each year.
A third, special category has been introduced this year. For each non-perishable food item donated during the open house, individuals will receive a special token that can be used to vote for any tree. The tree receiving the most special tokens will receive the Community Spirit award. All food items will be donated to a local food bank.
ACT is again hosting a virtual Festival from Tuesday, December 15 through midnight Thursday, December 17, 2015 on its Facebook page at http://facebook.com/wvact. Winner of the virtual vote will receive the Facebook Favorite award.
Finally, judges from Raleigh County schools and the Fayette Institute of Technology will review the trees and score them for the Best of Show trophy.
Mark your calendar now! Refreshments will be served and door prizes awarded.
ACT Earns Full COE Accreditation
The Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (COE) has granted accreditation to Raleigh County's Academy of Careers and Technology. Announcement of the action was made by Mr. Al Salazar, Commission Chair, following the COE Winter Commission Meeting of the Council on Occupational Education. The award of accreditation status is based on an evaluation to demonstrate that the institution meets not only the standards of quality of the Commission, but also the needs of students, the community, and employers. The evaluation process includes an extensive self-study by the institution and an intensive review by a visiting team of professional educators representing the commission's member institutions from other states.
The Academy of Careers and Technology began its self-study in August 2013 and underwent a team visit in April 2015. "I am excited to receive the maximum length of full accreditation,” said Charles Pack, Principal at ACT. "It is an affirmation of the quality of our staff, programs and support system. A tremendous amount of work went into the preparation for the visit and our task now is to continue offering quality educational opportunities for our students as we prepare them for their future.” --- from The Register-Herald (October 14, 2015)
Assistant Superintendent Says CTE is Vital for State's Future
Kathy D’Antoni, assistant state superintendent of schools for the Division of Technical and Adult Education Services, said Career and Technical Education is vital for the future of the Mountain State.
She said CTE is preparing high school students for the demands of today’s high-skilled workforce.
“CTE encourages students to develop the skills that are in demand,” she said. “It also is a way for kids to stay at home in West Virginia with good jobs, good-paying jobs.”
The skills that students learn in CTE programs play a large role in the state’s economy. For example, students in Summers County High School’s culinary program could easily transition into a tourism job, said Robert Mazzelli, who oversees the school’s culinary program. And tourism, some believe, is the future of southern West Virginia.
D’Antoni said within the last few years, the state has witnessed more students enrolling in CTE programs than ever before. One reason, she said, is the stigma of a vocational career is beginning to fade. That negative perception was around for years. A few years ago, The Economist, a British newsweekly, wrote Americans viewed vocational-technical education with “unique disdain.” The magazine added that “Americans hate the idea of schoolchildren setting out on career paths — such predetermination, they think, threatens the ethos of opportunity.”
D’Antoni explained within the last 60 years, job skills have shifted from manufacturing to technology. Even working in a manufacturing setting, she explained, requires strong computer skills. To meet those changing demands, West Virginia has started to focus on the student taking charge of his or her future. “The simulated workplace environment permits students the opportunity to take ownership of their individual performance as it impacts the overall success of their education, while thriving in an authentic workplace culture,” the program’s website, www.simulatedworkplace.com, explains.
This initiative was created to assist schools across the state to implement a workplace environment that parallels West Virginia’s workforce requirements, including random drug testing, professionalism, attendance and safety. Simulated Workplace not only enhances instructional career education, but creates a more engaged career and technical student, D’Antoni said.
The initiative is receiving national and international notice. D’Antoni said representatives from eight states and Australia have visited West Virginia to learn how to implement a similar initiative. A call to the Australian Embassy in Washington, to inquire what the country’s educators learned, went unreturned for several days. D’Antoni said Austrian educational officials also inquired about the state’s CTE program and will visit West Virginia soon. --- from The Register-Herald (Daniel Tyson, September 28, 2015)
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The Academy of Careers and Technology is accredited by the Commision of the Council on Occupational Education:
Council on Occupational Education
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