Missouri Connections

Get Adobe ReaderA note about viewing streaming video

Breaking Traditions Award 2012

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


State Secondary Male Award

Austin Broyles
Austin Broyles
Secondary Male
Southwest Area Career Center
Culinary Arts
Nominated by Vickie Fuller, Culinary Arts Instructor

Austin Broyles is a student in the Culinary Arts program at the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett. His nominator and instructor, Mrs. Fuller, said that Austin has grown into an exceptional culinary student, learning new concepts and doing research on his own at home in the evenings. According to Mrs. Fuller, Austin is like a sponge wanting all of the information he can absorb before he graduates. He mentors two first-year students every time they cook in class. He also volunteers anytime he can to work dinners that are held outside of the school day, despite the fact that he lives 45 minutes from SWACC. Austin understands the hours are long and the work can be difficult in the culinary industry. It doesn't bother him. He is a hard-working student with the leadership skills and work ethic necessary to succeed in the industry.

Austin plans to continue his education at either Ozarks Technical College or Northwest Arkansas Community College. His future goal is to some day manage or own a restaurant of his own. Austin will receive a scholarship from the Foundation for Missouri Women.


State Secondary Female Award

Alyssa Webb
Alyssa Webb
Secondary Female
The Career & Technology Center at Fort Osage
Crime Scene Investigation
Nominated by Kimberly Vollrath, Criminalist

Alyssa Webb is a student in the Crime Scene Investigation/Law Enforcement program at The Career and Technology Center at Fort Osage. She is an exceptionally motivated, accomplished individual; local district officer SkillsUSA, first in state in Tech Prep Showcase, 4th Nationally in Tech Prep Showcase, explorer at Grain Valley Police Department, participant in Missouri Highway Patrol Cadet Academy and this year was asked to be a counselor for the Cadet Academy. Alyssa has assisted Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop A Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team with hostage rescue training scenario and is the youngest person ever to receive the Pillar of the Community Award from the City of Grain Valley and the Missouri House of Representatives in 2010. Last summer she was one of only 5 female cadets at the Missouri Highway Patrol Cadet Academy, yet managed to be awarded not only the academic award, but also the physical fitness award.

Her instructor, Mrs. Vollrath, says, "There is nothing that is out of reach for this young lady, she is a perfect example of what a non-traditional student is capable of achieving." Alyssa has accomplished all of this without missing one day of school since Kindergarten. Her future career plans include acquiring a college degree, most likely in Criminal Justice. She would then like to apply to be an officer, receive police academy training, and work as an officer before applying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This Fall Alyssa plans to attend Central Methodist University, Missouri State, or University of Central Missouri. She will receive the Foundation for Missouri Women's scholarship.


State Postsecondary/Adult Male Award

Michael Lundy
Michael Lundy
Post-Secondary/Adult Male
Franklin Technology Center @ MSSU
Practical Nursing
Nominated by Kim Mercer, Practical Nursing Program Coordinator

Michael Lundy is a student in the Practical Nursing program at Franklin Technology Center at MSSU. His journey into nursing came after losing his job. Michael has lost several family members due to medical issues, including the loss of his first wife to brain cancer. These losses led him to an interest in wanting to help others either in their quest for health or in easing their suffering. Michael was nominated by his instructor, Kim Mercer, who states that he is a fine example of a person who is motivated to better himself and his family through education. He has worked hard to maintain excellent grades while supporting his wife and five children. Michael has been well received in the clinical areas as evidence by his stellar evaluations. He has taken on the role of mentor to his fellow students and has become a trusted colleague and friend. Michael has the communication skills needed to work with patients, the skills for prioritization, he is very respectful of others, and understands the art of active listening. Michael's immediate goal is to enter the medical field with the intent of trying hospice care. His long-term goal is to become a Registered Nurse.


State Postsecondary/Adult Female Award

Brittany Marshall
Brittany Marshall
Post-Secondary/Adult Female
Linn State Technical College
Commercial Turf & Grounds Management
Nominated by Ryan Klatt, Commercial Turf & Grounds Management Department Chair/Instructor

In May, Brittany Marshall will graduate from Linn State Technical College with an associate of applied science degree in Commercial Turf & Grounds Management.

Brittany's decision to pursue a career in the turf industry was due to the encouragement of her high school Ag teacher. "She understood what I was interested in and what I was good at in high school," commented Brittany. "She suggested I look at the Commercial Turf & Grounds Management program at Linn State."

According to Linn State CTG instructor Ryan Klatt, the Breaking Traditions award is a fitting honor for Brittany. "Wherever Brittany goes she will make a name for herself," said Klatt.

In March, Brittany headed to Michigan where she is interning as a groundskeeper at the Fifth Third Ballpark, home to the West Michigan Whitecaps. "I'm very excited about having the opportunity to work on a minor league baseball field," said Brittany.

Last year Brittany interned at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department where she cared for a variety of athletic fields. During the internship, she discovered that she enjoyed working on the baseball fields more than others. "There was so much more to maintaining the baseball fields than just cutting grass," said Brittany. "I really enjoyed it."

Next fall Brittany will enroll in Central Methodist University's baccalaureate program in management being offered on Linn State's main campus.

"I'm keeping my options open," commented Brittany. "The possibilities are endless." Brittany will receive a scholarship from the Foundation for Missouri Women.

<< return to the top


Secondary Daphna Jones Spirit Award Winner

Taressa Johnson
Taressa Johnson
Secondary Spirit Winner
Ozarks Technical Community College Career Center
Auto Collision Repair Technology
Nominated by Don Reeves, ABR Instructor

"The image I want to portray to future girls who take my path is to have strength and security in what we do; we're a rare breed. It's not always about being the best in your class, or being the leader at all times; it's about loving what you do and having a passion for it." Taressa emulates this belief everyday of her life.

According to her instructor, Don Reeves, Taressa has many traits that help her to stand out. They include setting goals and working towards them with persistence and patience, never giving in to obstructions, and compassion -- understand that we don't always get ... what we consider are positive results, but always knowing that a positive attitude will bring effective results in the end.

Taressa has overcome struggles that have helped to mold her into a strong young lady. "My parents weren't around when I was a child. In fact, they weren’t around at all." She was raised by her grandmother and fell in love with the automotive industry "because of Grandpa Bruce (Mr. Fix It)."

Taressa attends the Ozarks Technical Community College Career Center's Automotive Collision Repair Technology program and Parkview High School. After graduation in May she will enroll at OTC to complete her Associate of Applied Science degree. Taressa will receive the Breaking Traditions scholarship from OTC, and the Foundation for Missouri Women scholarship.


Postsecondary/Adult Daphna Jones Spirit Award Winner

Stephanie Payne
Stephanie Payne
Postsecondary/Adult Spirit Winner
Mineral Area College
Nominated by Alan Bayless, Agribusiness Instructor/Department Chair

Stephanie Payne, a Mineral Area College student, says that when she was young she never imagined pursuing an agriculture career and says, "Agriculture chose me!" After two of her six children were diagnosed with Autism, she researched several methods of therapies to help them. When Stephanie replaced their diet with fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables, their 'nonverbal' prognosis switched dramatically to 'verbal.' She says that it is with great honor that she gets to be a part of a field that she can better research and learn how to educate others on the health benefits of fresh, pesticide free foods. Her mission is to serve other's dietary needs and raise awareness to the abilities, rather than inabilities, of special individuals by improving their diet. She plans to do this in an agri-community by providing a farm environment that is a safe place for individuals with developmental disabilities to learn a seed to harvest operation.

Struggles to stay in school by having to move several times because of unhealthy housing issues, along with her children’s health issues and child care, continue to occur. However, she has managed to maintain a 3.7 GPA, won many awards, remained active in helping with the Autism Bill, and stays passionate about her career choice. Stephanie received a scholarship to complete her education at the University of Idaho to major in Ag Science, Communication, and Leadership with a Family Life emphasis. She will also receive a scholarship from the Foundation for Missouri Women.

<< return to the top


State Traditional Educator Award Winner

Robert Rodden
Robert Rodden
Traditional Educator
Jefferson College Area Technical School
Metal Fabrication Instructor
Nominated by Alex Bumann

Robert Rodden has been an Assistant Professor of Metal Fabrication at Jefferson College Area Technical School for several years and previously taught Welding. "Mr. Rodden puts an emphasis on the importance of role modeling and inspires his students to be class leaders which will help them in the real world of work," said Alex Bumann, the nontraditional student who nominated him.

She says that Mr. Rodden is flexible and seems to adjust to change very well. He takes his teaching job seriously but is often amused by his class and makes learning fun. He doesn't back down to any challenges that comes up and knows how to improvise to make things work. "He is encouraging and has a way about him that grabs people's attention when he stands in front of the class," Alex says. Being personable and asking his students if things are alright when he senses they are distracted by problems, are other great qualities he possesses. Boys and girls are treated equally in the class. Both have to finish their jobs completely and if it's not done correctly, Mr. Rodden has the student redo the job. He pushes both genders to live up to their potential. He's a deserving teacher who has helped many students become leaders and very employable.


State Nontraditional Educator Award Winner

Paul Santaularia
Paul Santaularia
Nontraditional Educator
Northland Career Center
Culinary Arts Instructor
Nominated by students Antonio Cammisano, Brandon Medlock, Daniel Parker, Chase Pound, Jacob Shaffer, Jasper Stanley, Matthew Teel, Sean Williams

Chef Paul Santaularia is the Culinary Arts instructor at Northland Career Center. Chef Paul’s expertise, passion, and high expectations extend beyond his culinary arts classroom. He is a dedicated role model that provides real world opportunities to his students and encourages them to be their best each day. These testimonies, from some of Chef Paul’s students, speak volumes:

"Chef Paul has not only helped our traditional students to succeed, but he has provided an equal opportunity for non-traditional students. Chef Paul has always been more like a chef than an instructor; he puts us in the situation of a restaurant and expects us to figure out the problems and tasks he sets before us."

"Chef Paul is the reason I like to come to school and he makes an ordinary thing an extraordinary experience."

"Chef Paul takes us with him on a lot of his culinary jobs outside of school, just so we can get a look at what we will be doing in the future. The Culinary Arts program at Northland Career Center is all about real world experience."

"Chef Paul does a great job of providing individual instruction. He makes this kitchen a fun place, and at the same time, a great learning environment. When I go to my culinary Arts class I feel like I am let out of school early everyday."

"We are fortunate to have Chef Paul as our Culinary Arts instructor at the Northland Career Center, and we want to recognize and thank you for your dedication."

<< return to the top


State Employers Award Winner

Susan Adams of Able Manufacturing and Assembly, LLC
Able Manufacturing & Assembly, LLC
Franklin Technology Center — Joplin, MO
Nominated by Dave Noah, Welding Instructor

Susan Adams, Director of Human Resources at Able Manufacturing & Assembly in Joplin, was nominated for the outstanding employer award by David Noah, Welding instructor at Franklin Technology Center. According to Mr. Noah, Susan and Able Manufacturing are huge supporters of Franklin Technology Center. They hire FTC's entry-level students and train them for available job opportunitities. They also provide tours and job shadowing opportunities. Mrs. Adams has served on the Welding program's advisory board for several years and believes in Technical Education. Mrs. Adams is always looking for bright individuals that know how to work, show up on time, and have the willingness to advance within Able Manufacturing.


Over the years, Able Manufacturing has hired many "non-traditional" workers to fill various jobs. Female welders, CNC and collision repair techs; male clerical workers; people over the age of 65 and those with physical or mental disabilities. Able has always been willing to give every co-worker the chance to succeed. According to Susan, non-traditional workers bring an enthusiasm and desire to do well, right from the start. In today's tough hiring market, if you aren't willing to take a chance on an atypical hire, you may be missing a great opportunity!

<< return to the top


Regional Breaking Traditions Award Winners

<< return to the top


Honorable Mention Breaking Traditions Award Winners

<< return to the top