Students and Educators Honored for “Breaking Traditions” in Careers


Eight Missourians will be honored Friday, May 3, as state winners of the 2013 Missouri Breaking Traditions Awards. The awards will be 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 their exceptional work in their chosen career fields,” said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. “We need to ensure that all kids are prepared for college and career…even if it's in a non-traditional field.”

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.

Six students, one educator and one employer received awards this year.

The 2013 award recipients are:

  • State Secondary Awards:  Brandon Medlock, Northland Career Center, Platte County R-III School District, culinary arts; and Alex Wiedmaier, Northwest Technical School, Maryville R-II School District, agriculture education.
  • State Postsecondary/Adult Awards:  Trevor Cavness, Columbia Area Career Center, Columbia 93 School District, practical nursing; and Jennifer Goodman, Linn State Technical College, design drafting/construction & civil technology.
  • Secondary Daphna Jones Spirit Award:  Brittany Thomas, Nevada Regional Technical Center, Nevada R-V School District, construction technology.
  • Postsecondary/Adult Daphna Jones Spirit Award:  Malee Alway, St. Charles Community College, computer aided drafting.
  • Educator Award:  Laura Estabrooks, Columbia Area Career Center, Columbia 93 School District, Geospatial and Information Technologies.
  • Employer Award:  Courtney Pennel, Monarch Children’s Academy in partnership with Ozarks Technical Community College, Middle College Program.

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 and the Regional Career Education Coordinators. This year’s awards will be presented by Dr. Sharon Helwig, assistant commissioner for the Office of College and Career Readiness at the Department.

State and spirit winners will receive scholarship offers from every Missouri community college and from Linn State Technical College. In addition, each winner who continues his or her postsecondary education will receive a scholarship from the Foundation for Missouri Women.