The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Jul. 22, 2024

Vantage holds Senior Awards Ceremony

VW independent/submitted information

Vantage Career Center staff, students, alumni, families, and friends gathered for the premiere of the virtual Vantage Senior Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 22, to honor students who have earned not only academic credits toward graduation, but certifications, licensure, and other valuable skills in their two years enrolled in one of the Career Technical programs at Vantage. 

The pre-recorded ceremony featured alumni and senior speeches, as well as the awards presentation to honor the Vantage Class of 2020.

Jeffrey Schulte (Kalida), recent Alumni Hall of Fame inductee (Vantage Machine Tool and Technology/2002), shared how Vantage provided him with tools and opportunities that opened many doors throughout his career.

“Vantage Career Center really jumpstarted my career by not only giving me the basic skills in my industry, but I found a new and exciting way to learn.” Schulte said. “While attending Vantage, algebra, geometry and trigonometry had a use in my life, which finally made it seem much easier to learn.” 

Vantage Career Center senior Kacey Denman (Interactive Media) holds her Career Passport from Vantage. Vantage photos

Schulte earned an associate’s degree in Manufacturing Technologies from Owens Community College, a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree from the University of Northwestern Ohio. 

“We all have to create our own paths for success in life,” noted Schulte, who is current plant operations manager at Unverferth Manufacturing in Kalida. “Your path may not be the same as your peers, but you hold the key to your own success.” 

Senior Ag and Industrial Power Technical student Megan Garrity (Paulding) gave a powerful senior speech to her peers, encouraging her fellow graduates to rise up to overcome challenges and reminding each student of their potential for greatness — but that there are no shortcuts. 

“One of the things I admire most about this group of seniors is how we all came together as a class,” she said. “Before we arrived here at Vantage, we all came from very different schools, but here, and together, we were able to combine our talents and skills into an influential and dominant body of educational excellence.” “This senior class will always be united in truly unique way,” Garrity added. “So today, we close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through, and start a new, exciting, and amazing chapter in our lives.”

Each year, Vantage career technical teachers select outstanding students to receive an “Award of Distinction.” To be eligible for this award, a student must demonstrate leadership qualities at school, have outstanding achievement in their program area, show exceptional skills in the subject area, participate as an active member of a school career technical club, and demonstrate cooperation, initiative, and responsibility. This year’s “Award of Distinction” winners were Kaylie Tressler (Paulding), Ag and Industrial Power Technology; Spencer Smith (Van Wert), Auto Body; Mark Rice (Delphos Jefferson), Carpentry; Alexander Welker (Parkway), Culinary Arts; Kaitlynn Keller (Continental), Early Childhood Education; Bridget Martin (Delphos Jefferson), Health Technology; Michael Burgei (Ottoville), Industrial Mechanics; Kacey Denman (Lincolnview), Interactive Media; Rachael Breese (Parkway), Medical Office Management; Gage Smith (Paulding), Network Systems; Evan Meyers (Ottoville) and Trevor Seifker (Kalida), Precision Machining; and Makenna Suever (Van Wert), Welding. 

Vantage senior Wyatt Richardson (Network Systems) holds his Career Passport from Vantage.

In March 2014, Vantage Welding junior Robbie Seffernick lost his life in a car accident. His family established the “Hey Buddy Scholarship” and Robbie Seffernick Memorial Award to be presented to a junior Welding student. Career and Technical Supervisor Ted Verhoff presented this year’s award to Derek Weyrauch (Fort Jennings). 

Verhoff also presented the Kennedy Manufacturing awards, a machinist’s rolling tool chest to an outstanding Precision Machining senior, and a Maintenance Rolling tool chest to an outstanding Industrial Mechanics senior. Trevor Siefker (Kalida) received the Kennedy Manufacturing Precision Machining “Senior of the Year” award and Michael Burgei (Ottoville) was the recipient of the Industrial Mechanics “Senior of the Year” award. 

Tanner Mathewson (Delphos Jefferson) was awarded the Crown Welding Senior of the Year scholarship. In memory of Marcus Landin (Kalida), a 2017 Industrial Mechanics graduate who passed away suddenly due to a heart disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, his family established The Marcus Landin Memorial Gift of tools. The recipient this year was Nolan German (Ottoville).

The Robert C. Stevens Scholarship is given by the Vantage Teacher’s Organization in memory of Bob Stevens, who taught Occupational Work Experience (OWE) at Vantage from 1976 until 1984. Students awarded this scholarship have shown outstanding achievement in their program area, while demonstrating initiative and perseverance. This year, the Robert C. Stevens Scholarship was awarded to Wyatt Richardson (Crestview), Kaylie Tressler (Paulding), and Emily Wentland (Antwerp). 

The Robert Brandt Scholarship was established in 2011 in memory of Bob Brandt, the very first Vantage superintendent. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Kalie Tressler (Paulding).

Vantage senior Spencer Smith (Auto Body Repair) poses with his Career Passport from Vantage.

Vantage Adult Education awards scholarships to Vantage students furthering their education in a qualifying Adult Education program. Vantage Criminal Justice students Thomas Holmes (Wayne Trace) and Ross Lengacher (Antwerp) received the Vantage Police Academy Scholarship. UNOH awarded Rachel Breese (Parkway), Kacey Denman (Lincolnview), Rieley Hannaman (Kalida), and Nathan Shepherd (Wayne Trace) with scholarships. 

Several other scholarship recipients were also recognized during the virtual awards presentation. Van Wert Rotary Club awarded its Van Wert Rotary Scholarship to Shiann Kraft (Lincolnview). Samantha Wagner (Paulding) and Emma Witten (Van Wert) earned the American Red Cross ARC High School scholarship. Rachel Breese (Parkway) earned the V.H. Cooper Scholarship. Jasmine Contreraz (Van Wert) was recognized for earning two Indiana Institute of Technology scholarships, the Achievement and Regional Awards. Angelina Haller (Van Wert) received the Raider Excellence and WOEF Reynolds and Reynolds Scholarships. 

Network Systems senior Wyatt Richardson (Crestview) was an R.K. Thompson Self-Reliance Award finalist, and was also awarded the Dan Norris Memorial and Western Kentucky University Academic Merit Scholarships. Great Clips gifted stylist supplies to Cosmetology senior Tabitha Jones (Antwerp).

The Van Wert Elks awarded Megan Garrity and Kaylie Tressler, both of Paulding, and Emma Witten (Van Wert), the Elks Student of the Month Award, while Tressler earned the Elks Student of the Year award. 

In a special presentation, Senior Carpentry student Mark Rice (Delphos Jefferson) was awarded the Carpenters Local Union 372 Top Student Award by Mike Schulte, Carpenters Union representative, and Tim Gerkin, general superintendent of Miller Brothers Construction.

Finally, all seniors who earned the opportunity to compete at the state level in SkillsUSA, Future Farmers of America (FFA), Family Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Business Professionals of America (BPA), and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), were recognized. 

SkillsUSA: Precision Machining, Evan Meyers, CNC Mill, Trevor Siefker, CNC Lathe, Jacob Rose, CNC Technician; Carpentry, Mark Rice, Carpentry; Auto Body, Robert Hobart, Collision Repair; Criminal Justice, Violet Taylor, Extemporaneous Speaking; Construction Equipment Technology, Brendan Karl and Darick Stachler, Heavy Equipment Operations, and Thomas Calvelage, Masonry; Welding Jacksyn Nichols, Welding, Tanner Mathewson, John Pseekos, and MaKenna Suever, Welding Fabrication, and Zoe Gile, Welding Sculpture. 

HOSA; Medical Office Management, Rachel Breese; Health Technology, Emma Zielke and Chloe Kunkleman. 

BPA; Interactive Media, Christian Baldwin, Gage Dickman, Angel Haller, and Leia Verhoff; Network Systems; Virginia Brotherwood, Rieley Hanneman, Andrew Johns, Zander Newman, Kane Plescher, and Gage Smith. 

FCCLA; Early Childhood Education, Rachael Beair, Katelyn Stevenson, Claudia Sheaks, Reagan Akom, Kali Reel, Yasmine Castillo, Libby Wenzlick, Ellie Wolf; Culinary Arts, Jayde Garcia and Morgan Smith. 

To view the Vantage Career Center virtual Senior Awards Ceremony, along with senior photos and other congratulatory correspondences, go to

POSTED: 06/05/20 at 11:25 pm. FILED UNDER: Youth