A total of 34 Van Wert High School seniors — double the number who participated the year before — and their business mentors attended the second CEO (Career Education Opportunities) program breakfast Thursday morning.
Kerry Koontz, the VWHS guidance counselor who developed the program in 2017 as a way to provide internships and other career education experiences for high school seniors, emceed the event and introduced students who participated this school year in the program.
He also talked cited the Simon Sinek program, “How to Find Your Why”, in noting that the CEO program helps seniors find their “why” — their motivating factor – to help them decide “what” to do as a career. Sometimes, he noted, the VWHS program helps students find out what they don’t want to do, as well as what they do want to do for a living, adding that both are helpful to students looking for something to do after high school.
Each student received a certificate and a CEO t-shirt, while each business representative also received a small gift for participating in the program.
Students participating in this year’s program include Katie Able, James Acquaviva, Courtney Adams, Kaylin Bledsoe, Brock Blythe, Chloe Brake, Megan Braun, Lauren Cooper, Thane Cowan, Brayden Cox, Katlyn Dickson, Lilian Geething, Dalton Heppeard.
Also, Tabitha Howell, Jacoby Kelly, Grace Kline, Abby Lawson, Alexys Luich, Daniel Magowan, Bethany Mandeville, Ashley Matthews, Kassey Miller, Storm Pierce, Courtney Sanderson, Miranda Sinning, Laine Spoor, Trevor Spridgeon, Julia Springer, Madison Turnwald, Emma Verville, Bradley Wilder, Jakob Williams, Selena Witten, and Eric Workman.
Career areas explored included healthcare, engineering, human resources, teaching, sports management, general business, insurance, social work, physical therapy, psychology, accounting, marketing, graphic design, firefighting/emergency medical technician, cosmetology, and customer service.
Central Insurance Companies sponsored the breakfast event, which was held at Willow Bend Country Club.
Koontz thanked those who have provided assistance to him in creating and implementing the career education program, including former Van Wert City Schools superintendent Ken Amstutz and VWHS Principal Bob Priest, who both provided the support needed to get the program under way.
Koontz also thanked Van Wert County development director Stacy Adam for her support of the program; as well as Krista Baer, TV Production instructor at VWHS, who helped oversee a video production on the program; and Lynette Westgerdes, Student Services secretary who provided technical support for the program.
In addition to showing the local CEO program video, Koontz also especially thanked the business partners who provide internships and job-shadowing experiences for VWHS seniors. Businesses and organizations that partnered with the program this year include Alliance Automation, Van Wert Health (formerly Van Wert County Hospital), Vancrest Health Care Center, Van Wert Elementary and Middle schools, the YWCA of Van Wert County, National Door & Trim, Purmort Brothers Insurance, Bee Gee Realty & Auctioneers, Therapy Solutions, Van Wert Manor, Westwood Behavioral Health Center, Sealscott CPA Inc., Van Wert Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Van Wert Fire Department, Best Little Hair House, The Kenn-Feld Group, Francis Furniture, and Central Insurance Companies.
Koontz also talked about the fact that the CEO program will be expanding to Crestview and Lincolnview school districts starting in the fall.