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Parkway FFA Week

By Laura Barrett at

What a great week for the Parkway FFA! From February 22nd to 26th our chapter celebrated National FFA week. To kick off the week we held a luncheon for all members and staff. All week we collected canned goods for the local food pantry, at the end of the week we delivered a total of 3,385 canned goods! Wednesday the petting zoo was set up in the ag shop and all K-3 students came to see the animals! We also held the truck drive-in on Thursday and apple pie bake-off on Friday. Winners for the truck drive-in contest were, Jensen Riley with newest, Tanner Matthews with cleanest, David Gause with oldest, Peyton Hamrick with Biggest and Job Beir with smallest. For the apple pie bake-off, best tasting pies went to, Taylor Hesse, Courtney Lies, and Lauren Henderson. Congratulations winners and thank you everyone who made this awesome week possible!    


District Speaking Contest

By Laura Barrett at

On February 24th at Spencerville High School, Clista Hellwarth and Maggie Houts competed in the district planned and extemporaneous speaking contests. In the prepared speaking contest (Clista), participants are required to write a speech and preform it in front of a judge. In the extemporaneous speaking contest (Maggie), members are asked questions and talk about them on the spot. Both girls did very well and will be moving on to the next contest! Maggie placed 2nd and Clista placed 1st . Good luck to both girls at state on March 12th.


Sub District Public Speaking

By Laura Barrett at

On February 17th Parkway students competed at the sub district division in, creed speaking, prepared public speaking and extemporaneous speaking. The girls who participated in creed speaking placed 3rd (Tessa Thatcher), 5th (Madison Kroeger), and 12th (Mecaylah Hesse). Clista placed 2nd and Maggie placed 1st in their respective divisions of the prepared and extemporaneous contests. Good luck to Maggie and Clista in the district contest February 24th! L to right Tessa Thatcher, Madison Kroeger, Macaylah Hesse, Clista Hellwarth, and Maggie Houts



Four Vantage BPA Students Heading to Nationals


And then there were four…Twenty-three Vantage business students competed recently at the Ohio BPA competition in Columbus and four will move on to the final step - the National Leadership Conference in Boston, Massachusetts! 

Alexis Forester, an Interactive Media senior from Crestview placed 2nd in the Computer Modeling contest, while Medical Office Management senior Lexi Doster from Continental qualified for nationals in the Integrated Office Applications competition. 

Two Network Systems students are also heading to Boston.  Senior Kenneth Pinks-Liebert from Parkway will be making a return trip to Nationals, as he took second place in the Network Administration Using Microsoft® contest.  Junior Spencer Wannemacher from Delphos Jefferson placed third in the Java Programming contest and will be making his first trip to Nationals.  “Being a junior, it’s more of an honor to represent Vantage and Delphos Jefferson at the BPA Nationals.  I’m excited to compete,” Spencer said.

In addition to the national qualifiers, several students placed in the top 10 of their contest.  Network Systems students receiving Top 10 medals include: Drayson Wenzlick (Paulding) - Computer Network Technology, Cullen Wenzlick, (Paulding) C++ Programming, Austin Metz (Parkway) - Computer Security, Christian Lintermoot, (Lincolnview), Justin Moenter (Delphos St. John’s), and Cory Miller (Lincolnview) - Computer Animation Team, Nathan Poling (Parkway), Collin Wilson (Parkway), and Sam Roughton (Paulding) - Parliamentary Procedure Tea.  From Interactive Media, senior Serena Drake (Antwerp) – Digital Publishing and the Interactive Media Parliamentary Procedure Team of Domino Daugherty (Antwerp), Alexa Longberry (Ft. Jennings), Will Placke (Van Wert), and Madison Smith (Van Wert).

The national qualifiers, along with their teachers, will be a part of the 2016 Business Professionals of America Leadership Conference “This Is Our Time” from May 5 – May 9 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Thousands of students from across the country will gather there to compete, showcase their business aptitudes and develop leadership skills.  The National Leadership Conference is the culmination of the BPA year filled with hard work and dedication put into competitions, Torch Awards, leadership development, service and more.  Activities will include general sessions with keynote speakers, business meetings, leadership workshops, contests, and the election of national officers.

Congratulations to all who competed at the state competition and good luck to those advancing to Nationals!





Vantage Business Professional of America (BPA) 2016 National qualifiers show off their hardware!  (l to r): Spencer Wannemacher, Alexis Forester, Lexi Doster, and Kenneth Pinks-Liebert.


Six hundred and fifty sophomores came to Vantage on Wednesday, Feb. 3, for “Sophomore Visitation Day”. Each sophomore had the opportunity to investigate and explore two different career technical programs of interest to them.  During each one-hour visit, there were hands-on activities, demonstrations and presentations prepared especially for them. 

Vantage Cosmetology students staged a style show for the 10th graders, while those visiting Welding got a chance to try out the virtual welder.  Visitors to Auto Body used their artistic talent to “pinstripe” by hand and practiced using the paint gun in the booth.  In Auto Technology, students learned how to use the tire balancer and the rim clamp and had a contest to see how quickly they could replace a spark plug.  Sophomores in Network Systems got to use some of the latest technology – Oculus 3D Rift Virtual Reality, Google Cardboard, and Google Glass, while those visiting Interactive Media got to work with the 3D printer.  In Construction Equipment Technology, students tried out the zero turn mower and skid steer.  There was a lot going on.

Here are a few frequently asked questions – and answers - about coming to high school at Vantage.

Q:  Can I go to college after Vantage?
A:  About 41% of Vantage graduates continue their education immediately after high school graduation at a two or four year college. Students are urged to check with their school counselor to be sure that all requirements for college entrance are met.

Q: Can I receive college credits through my high school class at Vantage?

A:  YES! Many programs have articulation agreements with local colleges which provide some college credit for Vantage coursework.  Some courses are College Credit Plus.

Q:  Can I participate in home school sports and activities?
A:  YES!  Students are encouraged to stay involved in extracurricular activities at their home school, such as sports, drama, etc. 
Q:  What is the tuition to attend Vantage?

A:  There is NO tuition to attend Vantage.  Each program has a fee of $75, which covers the cost of tools, supplies, equipment, and one full uniform. 

Q:  When are applications due at Vantage?

A:  Sophomore and junior students who are considering attending Vantage should be aware that the priority application deadline is March 9, 2016.  Interested students may complete and submit an online application form by using this address to access the application form.  Students may continue to enroll throughout the spring and summer however, first choice programs may already be filled.  Visit the Vantage website for complete information

Vantage offers 17 different high school career technical programs.  If you have any questions, please talk to your school counselor or call Student Services at Vantage at 419-238-5411 or 1-800-686-3944 ext. 2032.  You can always check out the Vantage website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @vccstudents.

Celebrate Vantage’s 40th Anniversary on Monday, February 22, from
5:00 – 7:30 pm.  All the labs will be open and there will be special demonstrations and activities. There will be a Parent Information Session in the Community Room from
6:00 to 6:30 pm designed to answer questions about your student’s opportunities at Vantage.  You’ll find special 40th Anniversary door prizes, contests, and raffles throughout the building. Area restaurants will be onsite @ “A Taste of Vantage” for you to sample their food for a minimal cost, with proceeds going to the Vantage Student Activity Fund. Four graduates will be inducted into the newly established Vantage Alumni Hall of Fame at 5:30 pm in the Commons.  Hope you can make it!



Celebrating 40 years of Workforce Education!

Vantage Career Center --1976-2016


Your Choice. Your Career. Your Success.

Your area career center. Need I say more? Vantage connects real people with real jobs, helping make real livelihoods for students and their families. We’ve been helping high school students and adult learners for 40 years. And we know what it means to you.

As superintendent, I always enjoy the real life stories of people whose lives have been touched by Vantage staff and the skills we provide. Our staff helps students who are working full-time jobs, who come to school sleepy, and share their paychecks with a single parent, to help make ends meet. We help young people who know what they want to do in life and throw themselves wholeheartedly into their education at Vantage to make that dream come true. We encourage some students to stick with it, come to school, go to work, and know it WILL make a difference. And there’s no greater joy than listening to these students thank a teacher or staff member for helping them to steer them on the right path.

As a lifetime educator, I also know career technical education is a vital part of local workforce development and economic development. Why? Because Vantage alumni tend to stay in our local communities, working as auto technicians, welders, secretaries and office support, network systems analysts, programmers, machinists, cosmetologists, and healthcare STNA’s. There are so many jobs that our students and alumni fill. They live local, spending their paychecks in our communities, and helping our local businesses to survive. Retention and expansion of local business is 90 percent of economic development. Especially in rural Ohio. And Vantage alumni ARE a huge percentage of our community.

Vantage offers high school training in 16 different career programs, as well as a variety of customized training for interested employers, and full-time workforce programs for displaced workers and anyone who wants a career change. Real people in real jobs. People connecting with their local communities. Vantage staff “get it”. We’ve done it for 40 years--and as superintendent, I have the pleasure of spreading the good news about our caring staff and awesome school.

The Vantage career technical planning district covers Van Wert and Paulding counties, and parts of Putnam and Mercer counties.  Vantage provides juniors, seniors and adults of all ages, with entry-level and advanced job skills to find employment. We’re proud of what we do. Our staff knows it’s about real people wanting to improve their lives, looking for a better job, or their first job, or a second income to start their own business or help out at home.

Thank you for supporting Vantage and our mission for the past 40 years. I invite you to attend our Open House on Monday evening, February 22, 2016 from 5:00 - 7:30 pm and celebrate our 40th year of changing lives.


38th Annual Vantage Senior Awards Assembly

Above: Vantage class of 2015 Award of Distinction winners: Front row: Caleb Bender, David Leathers, Nick Grote, Jill Ross, Arik Mitchener, Cole Ketchum, Dmitry Billingsley.  Back row: Tyler Foust, Tyler Talboom, Austin Schulte, Derek Schroeder.  Unavailable for the picture was Marty Hessler.


            Family, friends, and home school representatives, gathered at the annual Awards Assembly on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 to recognize the achievements and accomplishments of senior students enrolled in Vantage career technical programs. Awards of Distinction and scholarships highlighted the event and juniors put technology to the test as they watched the assembly via “live video streaming” from classrooms.

      The student speaker for this year’s assembly was Cole Ketchum, a senior in the Precision Machining program from Parkway.  Cole shared how coming to Vantage provided him with opportunities he never realized were possible and the news that he will begin a permanent full-time job @ Nidec Minster Manufacturing thanks to his technical training at Vantage. He also thanked teachers, staff members and classmates for their guidance, friendship and support. 

            Each year, career technical teachers select outstanding students to receive an “Award of Distinction”.   To be eligible for this award, a student must demonstrate leadership qualities at school, have outstanding achievement in their program area, show exceptional skills in the subject area, participate as an active member of a school career technical club and demonstrate cooperation, initiative and responsibility. This year’s “Award of Distinction” winners are:  Tyler Foust, Auto Technology (Delphos Jefferson), Tyler Talboom, Auto Body (Delphos Jefferson), David Leathers, Building & Grounds (Delphos St. Johns), Derek Schroeder, Precision Machining (Kalida), Austin Schulte, Welding (Kalida), Arik Mitchener, Ag & Industrial Power Tech (Lincolnview), Caleb Bender, Carpentry (Lincolnview), Nicholas Grote, Industrial Mechanics (Ottoville), Cole Ketchum, Precision Machining (Parkway), Marty Kessler, Network Systems (Paulding), and Jill Ross, Medical Office Management (Wayne Trace).

            Kennedy Manufacturing Plant Manager Mike Pond announced the Kennedy Manufacturing Precision Machining and Industrial Mechanics "Senior of the Year" award.  For a second consecutive year, Kennedy Manufacturing presented a Machinist’s Rolling Chest to an outstanding Precision Machining senior and a Maintenance Rolling Chest to an outstanding Industrial Mechanics senior.  This year’s recipients are Derek Schroeder (Precision Machining) and Nicholas Grote (Industrial Mechanics.

            Scholarship recipients were also recognized at the assembly.  The Robert C. Stevens Scholarship is given by the Vantage Teacher’s Organization in memory of Bob Stevens, who taught Occupational Work Experience (OWE) at Vantage from 1976 until 1984.  Students who are awarded this scholarship have shown outstanding achievement in their program area, while demonstrating initiative and perseverance.  This year, the Robert C. Stevens Scholarships were awarded to Jill Ross (Wayne Trace), Alysha Moran (Continental), and Samantha Hinchcliff (Wayne Trace). The Joshua Ralston Memorial Scholarship was established in 2003 in memory of Josh Ralston, a Vantage Ag Diesel student from Parkway.  This scholarship is given to a student pursuing a career and further education in mechanics.  Josh’s father, Scott Ralston presented this scholarship to Arik Mitchener.  The Robert Brandt Scholarship was established in 2011 in memory of Bob Brandt, the very first Vantage superintendent, who stayed at the helm of the school for 27 years.  This year’s scholarship recipient was Karlee Trammell (Crestview). 

            The Van Wert Rotary Club provides an annual scholarship to students at all Van Wert county schools.  The year, the Dee Whitcraft Memorial Rotary Scholarship was awarded to Hannah Smith by Rotarian Dave Roach.  Marianne Hardesty of the American Red Cross awarded the ARC High School scholarship to Alysha Moran.

            In March, 2014, Vantage Welding junior Robbie Seffernick lost his life in a car accident.  His family has established the Robbie Seffernick Memorial Award to be presented to a junior Welding student.  This year, there were two recipients – Brooke Brown (Van Wert) and Hunter Blankemeyer (Lincolnview).

            All student scholarship recipients were recognized at the Awards Assembly.  This year, Vantage students received over $200,000 in scholarships to continue their education.  Also honored were national BPA contestants, state skill contestants, National Technical Honor Society members, students receiving academic awards, students with perfect attendance, and student ambassadors.

            CONGRATULATIONS to the Vantage Career Center class of 2015!

Arik Mitchener, a senior in the Ag & Industrial Power Tech program, accepts the Josh Ralston Memorial Scholarship from Josh’s father, Scott.









Vantage Team Visits Haiti
written by Staci Kaufman, Superintendent

The 2013 Haiti team returned safely a few days ago, and accomplished much good work in the past week. The Vantage Interact Club, affiliated with the Van Wert Rotary Club, sponsors a carpentry program in the mountain village of Borde, Haiti. Vantage students raise funds throughout the school year to pay the carpentry teacher's salary ($100 per month) and furnish supplies and hand tools for the students. The furniture made by the carpentry program is sold in Cap Haitien, Haiti, and the funds are returned to the customer service account to buy more supplies.

Social studies teacher Peg Bollenbacher, the club's advisor, has traveled to Haiti annually for 10 years. She will retire this year, and is turning over the Interact Club to science teacher Matthew Miller. Ms. Bollenbacher will continue to return to Haiti annually on her own, as she has a deep bond with the local Haitians involved in our project. This was my first trip to Haiti, as it was for Mr. Miller. Seeing the carpentry school and surrounding facilities, which include another school building for multiple grade levels, a church, and a small kitchen building and small administration building really affected us—all are cinder block buildings with holes to let in light and air. Vantage will continue to target resources to meet their instructional needs. As incoming president of Van Wert Rotary, my service project will likely be constructing a green structure, or Earthship, (google Earthship Haiti) to supply solar power and sanitized water to some degree. Several of Ohio’s Rotary club’s incoming Presidents have indicated possible interest in helping accomplish this important goal.

As I expected prior to going to Haiti, words cannot express what I saw and experienced during the seven days I was there. I have memories for a lifetime, a lot of photos of the culture and people, and a renewed commitment to our Interact Club's project in Haiti.

CAPTION 1: Ann, who runs the medical clinic in Borde, with one of the microscopes donated by Vantage.

CAPTION 2:Vantage Superintendent Staci Kaufman with Jocelyn, a kindergarten student at the Borde school in Haiti.


“What We Did on Our Spring Break”
Spring break will hold special memories for 3 members of the Vantage Interact Club and their advisor. Club Advisor, Ms. Peg Bollenbacher, Interact Club President, senior Danielle Taylor (Lincolnview), senior Tiffany Hahn (Paulding) and junior Samantha Spangler (Wayne Trace) all travelled to Cap Haitian, Haiti. The purpose of this trip was to deliver hand tools for the Vantage carpentry class in Bordes.  This year, 10 Haitian students graduated from the carpentry class that is sponsored and sustained by the Vantage Interact Club and their Rotary partners.  Since Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, it is necessary for the Club to not only teach the Haitians a skill, but to also provide the hand tools.
The Interact Club also collected and delivered 20 boxes of medical equipment and supplies, which was given to a Haitian medical clinic that treats orphans for free. While they were there, Bollenbacher and the students worked to sort the tools and medical supplies. They also visited the carpentry class at Bordes, Haiti, where the carpentry students, told the Americans to continue the educational program because it is just too important to end. “Seeing what little they had at their school made me feel very fortunate for what we have. They don’t focus on what they don’t have, but are grateful for what they DO have,” said Tiffany. On Easter Sunday, a graduation ceremony was held, at which diplomas and hand tools were distributed to the graduates.
The Vantage crew spent the week visiting friends, exchanging educational and cultural ideologies and visiting Haitian historical sites.  At Milot, Haiti, the team visited Christophe’s Palace. The Haitians built the palace in appreciation of Christophe’s leadership to repel the French from Haiti. The palace was destroyed by an earthquake around 1840. The students were impressed with the Haitian’s ability to carve and their other art work. As a reward for their labor throughout the week, the team spent a day at the beach, near Labadee, Haiti.



As usual, the students were initially shocked at the standard of living that Haitians must endure. It is difficult to imagine what daily life is like in Haiti. No running water, sewage systems, garbage pick-up or traffic laws, were just a few of the things that Haitians live with every day. Danielle said, “Looking out the window of the plane when we first arrived, and only seeing shacks and garbage, I just wanted to cry. But the people are nothing like what they live with – they are amazing and so friendly.”
New friendships were made, and a better understanding of other cultures was learned. The three American students said that they would NEVER take their standard of living for granted ever again!

Pictured above: Vantage students Danielle Taylor, Samantha Spangler, and Tiffany Hahn are surrounded by young Haitian children during their visit over spring break. One of the youngsters in the background holds Danielle’s smartphone.
Pictured at left: Vantage Interact club advisor, Peg Bollenbacher, hands out a Certificate of Completion to a graduating member of the Bordes, Haiti carpentry class.

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