Tech Center Students Win State Awards

Overcoming obstacles and stereotypes to achieve success in career and technical education (CTE) programs, 63 students statewide are winners of the 2018 Breaking Traditions Awards, State Superintendent Brian Whiston announced today.

“These annual Breaking Traditions Awards recognize high school and college students who have demonstrated success in CTE programs that are nontraditional to their gender,” Whiston said. “As we continue to focus on building greater talent here in Michigan, it is important to overcome perceived barriers and recognize the efforts of these students and the programs that helped them.”

Two students from the Allegan County Area Technical & Education Center were recognized. Winning the Michigan Breaking Traditions 2018 Excellence Award is Kristina Ellens, Automotive Technology Program, of Wayland Union High School. Receiving the Michigan Breaking Traditions 2018 Merit Award is   Samantha Gould, Computer Information Systems Program, of Hopkins High School.

The MDE’s Office of Career and Technical Education oversees high school instructional programs that teach students skills in a specific career cluster. Most programs offer early college credit opportunities to provide a seamless transition to postsecondary education, which is a key strategy to help Michigan become a Top 10 education state in 10 years.

“These outstanding students are preparing themselves to enter a career that will benefit them individually and benefit Michigan by increasing diversity in our state’s workforce.” Whiston said. “We again raise up the accomplishments of students who stand as role models for peers who may be considering such a career path.”

To qualify, student had to meet these criteria:
• Complete a CTE program that is nontraditional for his/her gender
• Enroll in a Michigan high school or career center program during the 2017-2018 school year
• Be nominated by a teacher, counselor, administrator, or other staffer employed by the student’s school or career center
• Have satisfactory academic standing and acceptable citizenship and disciplinary history
• Have contributed to awareness of nontraditional careers through successful participation in one or more of the following activities:
• Exemplary completion of a program considered nontraditional for the student’s gender
• Successful competition in a program-related event or contest
• Participation in a CTE student organization
• Actively recruit other students into programs nontraditional for their gender
• Mentor other students in CTE programs nontraditional for their gender
• Make significant contributions to the student’s CTE program

Applicants had to provide two letters of support and write a brief narrative explaining their career obstacles faced, plus key accomplishments.

“The Michigan Department of Education is investing in Michigan's future by helping ensure that our children are career and college ready and have the skills the jobs of today and jobs of tomorrow demand,” said Superintendent Whiston. “Career and Technical Education is education that works for Michigan.”

The full list of winners is available here.