GPTC board members and former co-workers came together Tuesday night to honor retired (and long-time) principal at the Lawton campus—Ken Taylor. Previous superintendents Kenneth Bridges and Dr. Tom Thomas were present when Superintendent Clarence Fortney and GPTC Board President Clark Smith presented Taylor with a photo depicting Great Plains first class of instructors (there were six of them) taken at a new vocational-technical teachers training workshop in 1971—and with a plaque that recognizes the school will present an annual Kenneth D. Taylor Scholarship. The scholarship will cover up to $1,575.00 in annual tuition for a full-time program. Construction-related program students will have priority for the scholarship that will become effective this summer. Taylor called his 37 years at Great Plains some of the best years of his life. He immensely thanked all of those who attended.
Frederick photographer extraordinaire Jennifer Grice will teach a Digital Photography class Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., starting March 21st and running through April 27th. Bring a friend or make it a family affair and learn to take memories that will last a lifetime! Tuition is just $79 and there’s a 50% discount for persons 60 years of age or older. And while you’re on the phone enrolling in Digital Photography you might as well get “up to date” on Windows Fundamentals, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 2:00 p.m.—4:00 p.m. Take the class in the early afternoon and put it to use the same night on your home computer! Phone 335-5525 to enroll or stop by Great Plains Technology Center.
Frederick’s own outstanding cook Fabian Reyes will return to the Great Plains campus Tuesday evening March 21st to teach a fun and tasty class on how to make homemade tamales! Fabian’s classes always sell out so reserve your seat today. Tuition is just $25 for this class that will run from one night only from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Phone 580.335.5525 to enroll and plan on having some tasty fun. Great Plains has also scheduled several other short classes this spring including: Digital Photography, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m., March 21st-April 27th; CPR for Health Care Providers, Tuesday, March 21st and Homemade Tortillas, Tuesday April 18th. Call your friends. Enroll. Learn. Have fun.
Kyle Carroll and Anthony Scales, both Great Plains Surgical Technology students, were elected to the Oklahoma chapter of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), an international student organization created to promote career opportunities in the health care industry while enhancing the delivery of quality health care. Carroll was named reporter, while Scales will serve as parliamentarian.
Ann Tahah, director of Great Plains’ surgical technology program, said it is the first time Great Plains has had two students serving on HOSA at the same time, and only one other Great Plains student has served as a state HOSA officer.
Carroll and Scales, already engrossed in a demanding 10-month surgical technician program, said they understand the commitment of time the positions will require, noting their service to HOSA will continue after they graduate from Great Plains in May. But, the men said they believe in the goals HOSA sets and the benefits the organization brings to student participants.
Scales, who entered Great Plains’ program after leaving the military, said he knows HOSA will help further the education he and other students want, noting that, among other things, HOSA is focused on maintaining peak health profession standards.
“It really is very good for us,” he said.
Carroll said he also knows the organization will provide leadership opportunities as he finishes the training he needs for a health profession that he chose deliberately as his life’s work.
“I know what I wanted to do,” he said.
Tahah said the selection process was rigorous, involving an online test and an interview. Applicants with the highest scores advanced to the HOSA Conference where each technology center chapter was allowed to vote. Candidates with the most votes were elected to the 10 statewide positions and completed leadership training in early November.
The men said their work on behalf of HOSA already has begun, noting the organization has selected mental health awareness as this year’s focus.
Scales said he is pleased by the opportunity to serve HOSA and to receive his training at Great Plains.
“It’s hard to get and maintain certification,” he said, noting the quality education that is given to students.
Carroll also said he is pleased by the opportunity to participate in HOSA on a statewide level.
“It provides good, professional health care training,” he said.
Janey Johnston Scott, daughter of the late Julius “Ju Jonhston” an original board of education member at Great Plans Technology Center, who served from 1970-1976, contributed a $25,000 gift to the technology center Automotive Services Technology program earlier this month. The funds were earmarked for the purchase of automotive technology. Building 400 on the Lawton campus has long been named the Johnston Automotive Center in Johnston’s honor. Automotive Services Instructor Michael Thomason said the funds will help the school purchase one or two used automobiles that are equipped with the latest “computerized driver assist technology” such as back up cameras, and side and front sensor warning systems. Superintendent Clarence Fortney, Dr. George Bridges, GPTC Board member, Deputy Superintendent, Karen Bailey, Thomason and fellow Automotive instructor Allen Whittaker were among the GPTC officials who toured the Scotts. The Scotts also previewed the school’s new Business Development Center (Incubator) that is scheduled to open May 5th. The Scotts said they were stunned the school had grown so much since they last visited the campus. She said her father would be proud of the advances the technology center had made in preparing students to successfully enter the workforce or for clients to succeed in small business. Bridges succeed Johnston on the Great Plains Board of Education and recalled the advice that Johnston had given him at the time about how it is a person’s responsibility to serve the community as a public servant. “Ju told me in 1976 that now it was my turn”, Bridges said laughingly. Fortney said it was the first time he could recall such a generous gift to Great Plains being earmarked for one specific program. Johnston was a very involved citizen who in addition to serving on the “vo-tech” board, served on the Lawton City Council and Board of Regents He was also a landmark high school football coach who is credited with bringing the T-Formation offense to southwest Oklahoma. Johnston was also a successful Lawton businessman who owned and operated a Lawton salvage yard for many years.
Nora Sovo representing the Comanche Nation Housing Authority made the high offer of $86,025.00. Plans are for the 3BR/2B house to be moved within the next 90 days. The Great Plains Technology Center Foundation, a 501 c 3 non-profit organization finances construction of the house. Any profits provide scholarships and other financial support for Great Plains students. Thank you GPTC students for constructing an outstanding house—and thank you instructors for guiding them along the way. It was the ultimate instructional project. Thank you Comanche Nation Housing Authority. We hope the house is enjoyed for many decades to come!
The Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education, (OKACTE) and the Oklahoma Association of Technology Centers (OATC) named the Tillman County Emergency Services as Great Plains Technology Center’s “Partners for Progress” Award Winner for 2017. John Noel, Great Plains Director of Adult Career and Development, said that Ralph Washburn who directs the Tillman County Emergency Services has taught many EMR and EMT classes at Great Plains Frederick campus at no charge. Washburn and James Heap, Fire Chief of the Frederick Department accepted the award that was presented during a special ceremony, February 23rd at the History Center in Oklahoma City. Great Plains was represented by Noel; Deputy Superintendent, Karen Bailey; Gary Tyler, Assistant Superintendent at the Frederick campus; Sandi Noel, Accreditation and Planning Coordinator and Don Dunham, Dunham is the chairman of the Tillman County Ambulance Service, and a part-time I.T. specialist at the Frederick campus.
The Great Plains Technology Center Ambassadors Program held their monthly training session on January 25, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 2:50 PM in the Building 100 Auditorium. This month’s training focused on leadership. The training consisted of various speakers and exercises to teach students the value of leadership. Phil Kennedy, owner of Comanche County Lumber Company and board member for Oklahoma CareerTech, was the first speaker of the day. He began with a speech and discussion on leadership. The next speaker was GPTC superintendent, Clarence Fortney. Fortney gave the ambassadors a briefing on the history and facts of the CareerTech System and GPTC. After lunch, the ambassadors learned about professional dress for interviews and the workplace. Fortney and Keith Bridges met with the male ambassadors and Debbie Thompson met with the female ambassadors. Dillard’s provided clothing from their store to demonstrate appropriate dress. Dr. Krystal Brue, Organizational Leadership for Cameron University, discussed what leadership is and showed a leadership video. She also led the ambassadors in a team building exercise. At the conclusion of the training, the ambassadors evaluated their own leadership, followed by a wrap-up of the day.
Thanks to a multitude of state, regional and national programs and initiatives, the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines are growing in popularity. Cameron University is committed to such initiatives, with approximately 40 percent of CU degree programs falling under the STEM “umbrella.” Cameron graduates who earn degrees in these areas are primed for career success in a wide variety of fields.
Michele Hess earned two CU STEM degrees: an Associate in Applied Science in Information Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. Hess had first enrolled at CU after high school, taking classes for one semester and then moving on with “life.” Some 20 years later, she was working as a butcher when she decided to finish her long-held dream of getting a college degree. Today, she is the Database/Application Specialist at Great Plains Technology Center.
“As a non-traditional student entering higher education at a later age, Cameron seemed to be the best option available,” Hess says. “I found Cameron’s Computer Information Science degree plan challenging, and combining this degree with an IT degree prepared me to enter an IT career as a professional, ready to meet the challenges of day-to-day operations of large companies with multiple computing needs. At Cameron, I learned the concepts necessary for success, not just solving problems laid out in a textbook or lab exercise. I was prepared to think, troubleshoot, decide and act while solving real-world computing problems.”
Hess says that her Cameron education consisted of more than “book learning.” “I was able to build leadership skills that have prepared me for professional life. As the Team Leader in my capstone project, I learned to manage people, data, and outcomes effectively. More than 35 people worked together to create a finished product that accomplished two goals: it showed our skills and abilities to solve a real-world problem and it demonstrated that we could create a practical, real-world solution that could be implemented and used by business and industry.”
The combined capstone allowed Hess and her fellow students to benefit from the expertise of numerous faculty experts. In addition, it provided the opportunity to develop communication skills necessary for long-term success.
“No project is complete without documentation and written technical support,” Hess says. “This skill seems rare in the IT world, and it makes
all the difference between short-term solutions and long-term success. In my current position, I understand that the skills I learned in the Cameron classroom stretch across the entire STEM spectrum.”
Hess is hard-pressed to single out one faculty member. “The entire Computing and Technology faculty was always supportive. If one professor was unavailable, another stepped up to help. Mr.
(Mike) Estep always had a plan that pointed me in the right direction, which is essential to college success. Mr. (Dave) Smith was always available to answer questions and help me to understand the coursework. Mrs. (Mary) Penick noticed my struggles with her Technical Communication class and was always willing to help me. She would find the most interesting ways to motivate and challenge me.”
Now as an IT professional, Hess says that her job responsibilities span the STEM disciplines. “Computer science is the basis for everything I do. Technology is constantly changing, so I must keep up with it. Database creation and implementation requires a great amount of engineering, and the statistical data I provide to my colleagues is very formula driven, so a solid foundation in mathematics is essential.”
The mathematics element of STEM is one that could easily be the most underestimated, as public opinion holds that all you can do with a degree in mathematics is teach. In fact, mathematics opens the door to a variety of career paths. According to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), a study by Pay-scale indicates that the top 15 highest-earning college degrees have a common element: mathematics. Not only do many professions and majors (such as engineering, medical degrees, physics, computer science, actuarial science, etc.) require courses in mathematics, but the analytical and problem-solving skills students learn in mathematics can apply to all disciplines.
Written by: Janet Williams, Cameron University
Featured in: Cameron University Magazine Fall/Winter 2016