Missouri “Breaking Traditions” Winners Announced


Nine Missourians were honored Thursday as state winners of the 2014 Missouri Breaking Traditions Awards. The awards were presented during a ceremony at the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City.

The Breaking Traditions Awards honor students, educators and employers for their achievements related to nontraditional careers.

“Congratulations to the Breaking Traditions award winners for setting a terrific example in non-traditional career fields,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. “We need to ensure that all Missouri students are prepared to pursue their career of choice, even if it is outside the traditional pathway.”

College and career readiness is a primary goal for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for education in Missouri to rank in the top 10 nationwide by 2020.

The 2014 award recipients are:

  • State Secondary Awards: Tara Stewart, Lex-La-Ray Technical Center, Lexington R-V School District, automotive technology; and Christopher M. Bummer II, Grand River Technical School, Chillicothe R-II School District, health science technology.
  • State Postsecondary/Adult Awards: Brianne Becker, Ozarks Technical Community College, fire science technology; andTimothy Fast, Kirksville Area Career Center, practical nursing.
  • Secondary Spirit Award: Sadiya Braid, Columbia Area Career Center, Columbia 93 School District, certified welding.
  • Postsecondary/Adult Spirit Award:  Lucinda Poe, Ozarks Technical Community College, networking technology.
  • Secondary Educator Award: Gary Hicks, Manual Career & Technical Center, Kansas City Public Schools, construction technology.
  • Postsecondary Educator Award: Diane Heckemeyer, Linn State Technical College, Department Chair for Civil Engineering Technology and Design Drafting Technology.
  • Employer Award:  Justin Arnett, RN, MSN, Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center, Chief Nurse Executive.

Secondary Spirit Award winner Sadiya Braid has been offered a full scholarship to Linn State Technical College. State and Spirit winners receive scholarship offers from Missouri community colleges and from Linn State Technical College. Scholarship amounts and guidelines vary and are set by each school. In addition, each State, Spirit and Regional winner who continues his or her postsecondary education next fall will receive a $100 scholarship from the Foundation for Missouri Women.

Since 1994, Missouri Breaking Traditions Awards have honored outstanding students who have chosen specific career and technical education programs based on their interests and abilities, and who have not let their gender influence their career decisions. The program recognizes outstanding educators who teach in nontraditional career education programs for their support of nontraditional students, and employers who are supportive of nontraditional career programs and nontraditional students. Nontraditional careers are occupations or fields of work in which one gender comprises less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in that occupation or field. 

The Breaking Traditions Awards are sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.