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Breaking Traditions Award 2010

Congratulations to Missouri's state and regional Breaking Traditions award winners!


State Secondary Male Award

Brady Miers
Brady Miers
Secondary Male
Jefferson College Area Technical School
Health Services
Nominated by Jacalyn Eberhart

Brady Miers is in the Health Services program at Jefferson College Area Technical School. His nominator and instructor, Jacalyn Eberhart, said he is a very deserving student who has a 4.22 GPA and excellent attendance. He very successfully manages his time to arrive early for his scheduled duties. He is well groomed, wearing a wrinkle-free uniform with a note pad and pen tucked in his uniform pocket, ready to accept his assignment, always with a smile. Brady is a leader among his peers and ready to help them, as well as the residents at the nursing facility. Beyond the time he spends participating in clinical hours, he also volunteers at the home with a goal of helping with 100 hours. He seems to have learned time management early in life. Beyond his school responsibilities, which he takes very seriously, he works part time at Old Navy, he is involved in football, track, and wrestling, he is a representative for student council, and he has many responsibilities at home. Brady believes in setting goals and the old proverb “if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail." He enjoys the helping field and has a long-term goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.


State Secondary Female Award

Nancy Jackson
Nancy Jackson
Secondary Female
Macon Area Career and Technical Education Center
Agriculture Education
Nominated by Jenny Milligan

Miss Milligan, Agriculture Instructor at the Macon Area Career Center, nominated Nancy Jackson for the Breaking Traditions Award. She nominated Nancy because of her outstanding work ethic, her outstanding moral character, and her outstanding communication skills. “Since the first day Nancy stepped into my classroom as a freshman, she never ceased to amaze me. She always brought excitement and a new prospective to my classes. She worked willingly with other students while connecting what we were learning to other classes.”

Miss Milligan also believes this award should be given to those with the most potential to benefit the future of agriculture. Miss Milligan relates an example of the importance of career and technical education to Nancy. “With increasing graduation requirements, to take career education courses and graduate on time is a challenge for many students. In order to meet this challenge, Nancy chose to take two English courses online, so she could continue her career and technical education courses.”

Nancy gives a lot of credit for her success in agriculture to her mother; her second mother, “Miss Milligan;” and the classes at the Career Center. Nancy plans to attend the University of Missouri Columbia with a double major in Farm Management and Animal Science.


State Postsecondary/Adult Male Award

Larry Parks
Larry Parks
Post-Secondary/Adult Male
Linn State Technical College
Physical Therapy Assistant
Nominated by Elizabeth Bryan

Larry Parks is a Physical Therapy Assistant student attending Linn State Technical College. Larry was nominated by Elizabeth Bryan, who is one of his instructors at Linn State Technical College. Elizabeth stated that “Larry has excelled in all aspects of this educational program thus far. He has been exceptionally reliable, dependable, and diligent, and he consistently goes beyond the minimum expectation.”

After retiring from the military with 24 years of service, Larry chose to go back to school to become a Physical Therapy Assistant. He had two adjustments to make: becoming a student after leading in his military duties, and being a nontraditional male in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program after retiring from a traditional male occupation as a soldier.

He is also a single parent raising two teenagers. Despite all of his challenges, Larry maintains a positive attitude, displays leadership in his classes and student organizations, and is on the Dean’s list and honor role. Larry credits his mom as being a role model in his life. He says she helped him to be who he is, to be more confident, to strive to work harder, and to treat others with respect and have respect for himself.


State Postsecondary/Adult Female Award

Christine Easterly
Christine Easterly
Post-Secondary/Adult Female
Ozarks Technical Community College
Diesel Technology
Nominated by Jay Yinger

“When Christine first entered my classroom, I knew she would be an excellent team leader. She had two basic questions: 'How does it work and why does it work that way?'" This is how Jay Yinger, Christine’s Diesel Instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College describes her when he speaks about her. It was this attitude, hard work and dedication to get and keep a 4.0 GPA, and her ability to support/mentor other students while struggling with some personal challenges, including having a reading disability, that made Jay nominate her.

“Diesel and Automotive is a non-traditional career choice, but to me it is totally natural,” Christine says. “I have always wanted to be a mechanic. To me, it’s something that came naturally. Instead of playing with dolls, I had my eyes on cars and trucks. As a teen, I fell in love with the big trucks and the way they sounded. I wanted to drive and work on them, but women did not do that kind of work.” You have to realize that Christine was raised in a generation where non-traditional role models did not really exist. Her advice to others is “if you want to go into something that is considered a non-traditional role, pull up your 'bootstraps' and take a deep breath.”

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Secondary Daphna Jones Spirit Award Winner

Kate Hodges
Kate Hodges
Secondary Spirit Winner
Columbia Area Career Center
Nominated by William Irvin

Kate Hodges is a second-year Certified Welding student from the Columbia Area Career Center. Kate’s welding instructor, Mr. Irvin, appreciates her work ethic. He says that she “works conscientiously, is always on task, pays attention to detail and is very good about doing a good job. ... Kate is at the top of her class — setting the pace for everyone else.”

Kate credits her Mom and Grandpa for influencing her decision to enroll in a nontraditional program. Her Mom advised her to “go into a male dominated profession, to break barriers and excel tremendously.” Kate looks up to and admires her Grandpa because he was hard working and very giving to his family.

Kate has had some personal and medical obstacles to overcome while working toward her career goals. After a late start into her career program, Kate looks forward to working in the shop. She says that she is “thankful for everyday I have, and welding is what keeps me going because it’s what I love most.” Kate plans to attend Tulsa welding School after high school and has been accepted and will attend their program next year. She would like to become a Certified Welding Inspector someday.


Postsecondary/Adult Daphna Jones Spirit Award Winner

Hilary Morrissey
Hilary Morrissey
Postsecondary/Adult Spirit Winner
Moberly Area Community College
Graphic Arts
Nominated by Ben Leach

Mr. Ben Leach, Graphic Arts Instructor at Moberly Area Community College, nominated Hilary Morrissey for the Breaking Traditions Award. Mr. Leach recommends Hilary for several reasons but most importantly her ability to overcome her disabilities. “Hilary has talent, dedication and perseverance. She is very adaptable, friendly and always exhibits a cheerful demeanor and a very positive attitude, in spite of the fact that she may be experiencing considerable discomfort and pain.”

Her internship supervisor, Keithly Photography of Macon, Missouri, was so impressed by her abilities they asked that she continue her internship for a second semester. Upon graduation in May of this year, they have offered her a job. Hilary’s main goal is to be as independent as possible and not dependent on others or our government for support. She is extremely grateful to her Graphic Arts Instructor, Mr. Sternke, at the Macon Area Career Center, Mr. Ben Leach her Graphic Arts Instructor at Moberly Area Community College, and her parents. Hilary feels the programs at Moberly Area Community College give all people choices to help them achieve their dreams, no matter what their gender or what their limitations may be.

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Secondary State Educator Award Winner

Mike Kuechler
Mike Kuechler
Secondary Educator
Lewis and Clark Career Center
Auto Collision
Nominated by Chelsey Aresco

Mike Kuechler is an outstanding instructor for the auto collision program at Lewis and Clark Career Center in St. Charles Missouri.
His student, Chelsey Aresco nominated him for several reasons. She feels that he treats all his students with respect and with professionalism. The student says she has had teachers in the past who make students feel uncomfortable to ask questions. This teacher is totally opposite. It is very important to him not to intimidate students. He is very organized and often works after the bell rings. He also gives the same jobs to females that he gives to males.

Chelsey writes that Mr. Kuechler know his students and if a student is absent for a few days that he wants to know what’s going on with that student and finds out from his/her classmates or from the counselor at the sending school. Chelsey feels that her instructor encourages females to take his class as well as males and Mr. Kuechler doesn’t feel like girls are a distraction. Many others at Lewis and Clark feel the same way about this deserving instructor, Mr. Mike Kuechler.


Postsecondary/Adult State Educator Award Winner

Cheryl Feller
Cheryl Feller
Post-Secondary/Adult Educator
Ozarks Technical Community College
Graphic Design
Nominated by Chelsea Phillips

Cheryl Feller worked as a graphic designer for many years and is now a full time instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College. Students and collegues alike find her a very positive team player who loves what she does and is always motivating and encouraging all students to discover their abilities and the many possibliblites of making graphic design their career choice.

“I remember for one of my very first projects, we had to make pictures demonstrating the elements of graphic design. I drew a giraffe in Illustrator, which impressed Ms. Feller. From that day forward, she has encouraged me to do all my work to the fullest. That means she will listen to all my reasons as to why I did something a certain way, then she will give me her opinion. No matter what I decide, her support is behind it about 99% of the time.” This is a statement from Chelsea Phillips, her nominator and one of Cheryl Feller’s many non-traditional students who look forward to her classes each and every class period.

Her nominator said, “I enjoy learning from her experience working in a male dominated field. She shares the hands-on experience she gained in the workforce. Her willingness to teach from that real-world knowledge makes her a great candidate. She gives us examples of the qualities necessary to be the best employee and ways to keep your head up when the projects get difficult.”

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State Employers Award Winner

Ranee Brayton
Ranee Brayton
Northeast Regional Medical Center — Kirksville, MO
Nominated by Deborah Slattery

Mrs. Deborah Slattery, Practical Nursing Administrator from the Kirksville Area Technical Center, nominated the Northeast Regional Medical Center for the outstanding employer award. In Debbie’s words, “We nominated the Northeast Regional Medical Center for this award because of their continued support of our students throughout the years. Not only do they support us through the internships and clinicals, but they also provide a lot of emotional support and professional guidance for our students.”

“The hospital has shown a strong commitment to recruiting and retaining nontraditional employees, as evidenced by Ranee Brayton’s position as CEO of the hospital. They have also hired several of our former students both male and female. Many of our previous Breaking Traditions winners have been hired by the hospital.” In Ranee’s words, “The hospital has benefitted in a variety of ways from hiring nontraditional students. The hiring practice of having students trained in the hospital provides the hospital with an employee that has an advanced orientation to the workplace. It also contributes to diversity in the workplace, which is absolutely essential as our hospital continues to serve a very diverse population.”

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Regional Breaking Traditions Award Winners

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Honorable Mention Breaking Traditions Award Winners

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