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Megan Sherman: Internship to Ownership

September 18th, 2014

Megan Sherman blogMegan Sherman, a junior at Westlake High School, dreamed about owning her own business in the wedding industry since she was 15 years old. In April 2012, she contacted the owner (Carol Kingston) of Creative Wedding Events and asked for a job, any job, in her company. Megan was hired as a decorative assistant and began learning about the $53.4 billion wedding industry.

In 2013, when Megan met with her academic advisor, it was suggested that Megan participate in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Internship where she would earn graduation credit for her work at Creative Wedding Events. “The paperwork was quickly put in order and the internship became official. Little did anyone know that I was about to embark on a journey that would shape not only my future, but that of Creative Wedding Events as well,” says Megan.

In October 2013, Megan and Carol decorated a small barn owned by Linden Nursery in Lindon, Utah. The barn was occasionally rented out for weddings and other special events. “While cleaning up at the end of a wedding, Carol, Adam, and I casually discussed the outcome of the event. While working, a passing comment was made about how amazing it would be to turn the barn into an official wedding reception center. A good laugh was had and the moment passed; however, a spark had been lit that would turn into an idea for the ages,” says Megan.

Months later, that spark, that idea turned into a reality when Carol, Adam, and Megan approached the owners (Ed and Valerie Platt) of the barn with a business proposal to turn the barn into a reception center. “The proposal highlighted the desires of the team to embrace and enhance the storied culture of the nursery. Additionally, the proposal detailed the steps the [team] would take to convert the existing barn into a full-fledged wedding reception center. . .As fate would have it [the owners of the barn] saw the value of the proposition and agreed to allow the plan to move forward,” said Megan.

On April 1, 2014, The Barn at Linden Nursery officially opened its doors. The collective efforts of Carol, Megan, and Adam have so far proved successful. In five weeks, more than 30 weddings were booked. “As the primary consultant, Megan has done wonders working with potential clients, providing tours of the building, and working to coordinate event details. Each day brings new opportunities for her to show her skills,” says Carol.

Megan is focused on building a detailed marketing plan for The Barn at Linden Nursery, and has been given the responsibility of planning and preparing the business for the bridal expo in September 2014. As Megan continues to work with Carol at Creative Wedding Events and marketing The Barn at Linden Nursery she will complete her transition from internship to ownership.

Work-Based Learning lets students see how classroom instruction connects to the world of work and future career opportunities. If you’re interested in participating in a CTE Internship talk to the Work-Based Learning Coordinator at your school.

Save the Date: 2014 CTSO Fall Leadership Conferences

September 11th, 2014

Utah Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) state and chapter officers will gather together at a Fall Leadership Conference to learn, plan, and prepare for the 2014-2015 school year. Fall Leadership Conferences will be held between September 23 and November 4 for DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA, so check out the list of conferences below and save the date.

September 23-24:
FCCLA Fall Leadership Conference – Marriott, Hotel – Provo, UT

October 7:
DECA Fall Leadership Conference – Energy Solutions Arena – Salt Lake City, UT

October 11:
TSA Fall Leadership Conference – Jordan Applied Technology Center – Salt Lake City, UT

October 21:
SkillsUSA Utah Leadership Training Institute – Utah Valley University – Orem, UT

October 29-November 1:
FFA National Convention and Expo – Louisville, Kentucky

October 30-31:
FBLA Fall Leadership Conference – Hilton Hotel – Salt Lake City, UT

November 4:
HOSA Fall Leadership Conference – Marriott, Hotel – Provo, UT

Students who participate in a CTSO will learn leadership and employability skills, time management, effective communication, teamwork and problem solving skills. Career and Technical Student Organizations present organized activities for students:
> To gain personal and leadership skills.
> To obtain employability skills.
> To prepare to become productive citizens.
> To assume positive roles in the home and community.

What Career and Technical Student Organization are you a member of?
> DECA – An association for Marketing Education students.
> FBLA – Future Business Leaders of America
> FCCLAFamily, Career and Community Leaders of America
> FFAThe organization for Agricultural Education students.
> HOSAAn association for Health Science Education students.
> SkillsUSAThe organization for Skilled & Technical Sciences Education students.
> TSATechnology Student Association

State and chapter officers, we want to hear about your conference and what your CTSO chapter is planning for the year. Send your stories and photos to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.

If you are not a member of a CTSO, and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the CTSO advisor in your school.

The New UtahFutures Goes Live

September 8th, 2014

The new and improved UtahFutures.org is now live! Please remember that this launch of UtahFutures is a functioning pilot. So unfortunately, there may be a few bugs and glitches. Please let us know if you find something that needs to be fixed or that isn’t working properly. Because UtahFutures is a pilot you have an opportunity to influence the final product by providing feedback, including suggestions for improvement and requests for additional functions and features. Send feedback and system questions to utahfutures@schools.utah.gov.

Type “utahfutures.org” into your browser and you will connect to the new site. Take a minute, create an account and you can start saving your career assessments and your occupation and school searches, and start building your own timeline of important steps in planning for your future. The new Student Profile page is organized into three areas for developing effective Plans for College and Career Readiness.

  1. Exploration – The three stages of Exploration focus on grades 7 and 8, grades 9 and 10, and grades 11 and 12. Here students participate in assessments, activities, and research to help them expand their list of possibilities and make connections to real world work experience.
  2. Workspace – Students can select an occupation, connect it to a school, search for scholarships, and create a plan of study with typical high school courses, plus set challenge goals and find other useful planning tools and connections.
  3. My Plan – Student’s exploration and decision making come together to produce a printable Plan for College and career Readiness.

At every step UtahFutures is designed to challenge students to do more. More exploration, more goal setting, and more planning.

School counselors and other licensed educators can become school site administrators. To become an administrator, create a personal profile account and then send a request to the district school counseling leader or district CTE director to submit your name as a potential administrator by e-mail to utahfutures@schools.utah.gov. Charter school counselors can submit their request directly to the above email. Include a statement that you are a licensed school counselor.

If your district has not scheduled a training for school counselors, on features and functions of the new UtahFutures, please contact your district school counseling leadership and ask them to contact Dawn Stevenson dawn.stevenson@schools.utah.gov.


Memories of FCCLA National Leadership Conference

September 2nd, 2014

By Makayla Hendricks, Utah FCCLA President

This year, the FCCLA National Leadership Conference was long anticipated. The excitement level of members as we boarded an early morning flight was unexplainable. As we arrived in San Antonio, Texas the afternoon of Saturday, July 5 we couldn’t get enough of the beautiful green trees, wide open spaces, not to mention the humidity. We could tell this was going to be a week to remember.

As our hyper, yet exhausted, members met that night for our state meeting. We discussed the week, registration, rules, and played a few entertaining games. Sunday brought Leadership Academy classes for some, and others got to explore the sights and sounds of San Antonio. Leadership Academy continued throughout the week. This is where state officers learned valuable leadership skills, gained ideas, and networked with other state officers.

Monday night brought our opening session. The entire room in the convention center was like a fish bowl of excitement and energy. I, as president, was given the privilege to carry Utah’s flag during the flag ceremony. Walking across that stage and feeling the energy, and hearing my members go crazy was definitely the best feeling. We heard from a keynote speaker who motivated us all and set the stage for the week.

I got the privilege to be a voting delegate and meet 20 of the National Officer Candidates. Being able to be a part of this process was quite a learning experience for me. I was able to go through a meet and greet session with all of them, as well as listen to their speeches. I have confidence that the newly elected national officers will do a fantastic job.

The closing session was bittersweet. The energy was high, but none of us wanted to leave. Following the session some members attended the gala and had the time of their lives. From competing in STAR Events to walking across the stage to receive a medal, to trading pins and meeting friends from all over the U.S., to taking selfies with these new friends, Nationals was a blast! We all learned how to SOAR and found the motivation to take a stand and lead. I miss my FCCLA Family, but Nationals 2014 in San Antonio, Texas was definitely one for the books.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of Utah FCCLA contact the FCCLA adviser in your school.

SkillsUSA: 50 Years of Champions at Work

August 18th, 2014

During the summer, as SkillsUSA members joined together from across the nation to compete at the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference they also celebrated 50 years of champions at work. SkillsUSA turns 50 in the year 2015, so the conference marked the beginning of a yearlong celebration that will culminate with the 51st National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, June 22-26, 2015.

Five decades ago, the founders of SkillsUSA and approximately 200 students and teachers attending the first SkillsUSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee set in motion events and aspirations that are very real today. Fast forward 50 years . . .SkillsUSA has grown exponentially.

SkillsUSA by the Numbers:
> More than 11.6 million members served since 1965.
> More than 335,000 members nationwide.
> Nearly 17,000 chapters in more than 4,000 schools since 1965.
> Approximately 4,000 active chapters.
> 130 skilled occupations represented.
> More than 600 business, industry and labor sponsors

The impact of SkillsUSA over the past 50 years has been far reaching. SkillsUSA is:
> A nationwide network of students and instructors in a common bond with a powerful partnership of industry, serving more than 11.6 million members over 50 years.
> Effective and far-reaching classroom instruction in employability and leadership skills.
> Civically engaged students involved in community service and possessing the skills to become responsible American citizens.
> Preparing America’s skilled workforce through continually transformed instruction, influenced by an internationally recognized championships program.
> Representing Career and Technical Education to policymakers, employers, and the public.

“Organizations don’t last 50 years without passionate people committed to carrying out a mission they believe in. Why have so many affirmed their belief in SkillsUSA’s mission since 1965? Because the success of that mission is palpable in the young people whose lives it changes for the better every day, more than 11.6 million so far . . . and counting,” says Tim Lawrence, Executive Director, SkillsUSA.

Click HERE to learn more about SkillsUSA and its members.

Little Hands on the Farm Exhibit Returns to the Utah State Fair

August 15th, 2014

From planting seeds to harvesting crops, from milking a cow (a life-size fiberglass cow) to gathering eggs, Utah FFAstate officers have been working hard this summer preparing numerous interactive displays for the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit at the Utah State Fair. The Fair begins Thursday, September 4 and continues through Sunday, September 14. The Little Hands on the Farm exhibit is a hands-on experience for children ages 2 to 10. Children will learn where food comes from and the process it takes to get it from the farm to the grocery store. The exhibit is included with the price of admission to the Utah State Fair. Located west of the arena, the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit is open each day from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Plan now to attend the Utah State Fair and visit the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit. If you can’t wait until September 4 to visit the Fair, take a virtual tour now of the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit with an FFA member HERE.

The Great Utah State Fair
September 4-14, 2014
Sunday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.


Utah TSA Members Excel at National Conference

July 30th, 2014

Last month, Utah TSA (Technology Student Association) student members traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the 2014 National TSA Conference. At the conference, students participated in 60 competitive events based on principles and concepts learned through projects during the school year in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects. TSA positively impacts the lives of junior high and high school students.

At the conference, TSA recognized the top 10 finalist in each event and awarded trophies to the top three. Wasatch Junior High School, in Granite School District, under the direction of Career and Technical Education teacher and TSA advisor, Tony Bryrom, received top 10 honors in 6 of 32 events they competed. “I am so proud of my students. All 12 of them made the top ten in at least one event. One of my students made the top ten 5 times. They have all caught the TSA bug and plan to make TSA strong in the high school next year.”

Other Utah junior highs that received honors were Lehi, Oak Canyon, and Millcreek Junior High Schools. Utah high school students were recognized as top-10 finalist in 11 of 36 events.  Utah received top 3 trophies in the following 6 events:

Computer Numeric Control
Andrew Davis and Dallin Miner (Mountain View High School)

Manufacturing Prototype
Colin Gubler, Katelyn Young, Bethany Jorgensen,
Morgan Maxfield, Jonathon Young,
and Aubrey Wheelwright
 (Pleasant Grove High School)

On Demand Video
Hillcrest High School

Photographic Technology
Tanaysia Pierce (InTech Collegiate High School)

System Control Technology
Christian Davidson, Cole Olsen,
and Jacob Winder (American Fork High School)

CAD 3D Engineering
Shardul Kamat (Jordan Applied Technology Center)

Other high schools recognized as top-10 finalists were: Jordan Applied Technology Center, Lehi, Hillcrest, Bingham, Layton, and NUAMES High Schools.

“Congratulations to our excellent Technology and Engineering teachers that go the extra mile for their students,” says Darrell Andelin, Technology and Engineering specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

HERE is the list of contest results.

WATCH a video highlighting the scope of TSA educational programs and competitive events.

Wasatch Junior High School students

Utah FCCLA Members SOAR at 2014 NLC

July 29th, 2014

By Nikki Sue Larkin, FCCLA State Advisor

This month, the 2014 FCCLA National Leadership Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. With the theme of “Soar”, 162 students and 65 advisers/chaperones from Utah soared as they attended dynamic workshops and break-out sessions, participated in STAR Events, met new people and expanded their leadership potential. Great memories were made at the various tourist attractions which included the River Walk, The Alamo, Six Flags, and Sea World.

Amie Peterson, Utah FCCLA VP of History, said this about the conference, “Nationals was full of exciting times. As a state officer I was able to be a part of Leadership Academy. T his consisted of classes that will help me in my future as I start to get a job and apply for colleges. At Nationals I was able to meet a lot of new people in every class I went to. I now have friend from all over the country.

Our Utah competitors finished in the FCCLA STAR Events with 41 Gold Medals, 82 Silver Medals, and 26 Bronze Medals. Fantastic! Jason Skidmore, CTE Director for Jordan School District received the FCCLA National School Administrator of the Year Award.

Jason Skidmore receives
FCCLA National School Administrator of the Year Award

At the conference 15 Utah advisers received the national Master Adviser Award.

Left to right: Aubrey Turnbow, Bingham High School; Chris Carrigan, Morgan High School;
Michelle Stott, Lehi High School; Tammie Bennett, Panguitch High School;
Emily Housely, Jordan High School; LeAnn Leavitt, Cedar High School;
Auralee Brooks, North Sanpete High School

Makayla Hendricks, Utah FCCLA State President, expressed her enthusiasm about the conference saying, “The energy was high . . . From competing in STAR Events and walking across the stage to receive a medal, to trading pins and meeting friends from all over the U.S., to taking selfies with new friends, Nationals was a blast! We all learned how to SOAR and found the motivation to take a stand and lead. I will definitely miss my FCCLA family, but Nationals 2014 in San Antonio, Texas was definitely one for the books.” 

I am proud of our students and advisers/chaperones as they represented Utah in a very professional way. Many thanks to those who made this an incredible experience.

Related stories:
2014 NLC in Review
NLC #FCCLAFamily Selfies

A Picture of Resilience: Jason Becker

July 29th, 2014

By L. Kristine Dobson

The theme of this year’s CTE summer conference for Utah educators involved in Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance, Youth in Custody, Adult Education, Prevention, and Student Services was Promoting Resiliency: Student Success from Crayons to College and Career Ready.

Resilience is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) asthe process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” In their online guide, Road to Resilience, they offer ten tips to teens to build resilience (click link to see detail):

1. Get together.
2. Cut yourself some slack.
3. Create a hassle-free zone.
4. Stick to the program.
5. Take care of yourself.
6. Take control.
7. Express yourself.
8. Help somebody.
9. Put things in perspective.
10. Turn it off.

We may wonder why some people can experience difficult situations and traumatic events, and yet appear able to readily “bounce back.” This ability to bounce back, i.e., demonstrate resilience even under the most trying circumstances, is actually a set of skills that can be learned.

Since the conference, I have given much thought to the notion that resilience is learned. That idea conflicts with my intuitive sense that there are aspects of resilience that are innate. In my own family, I’m not alone when I observe the difference between one relative who was “born happy,” and another who appears totally unable to find the “silver lining,” only more dark clouds. My happy relative has bounced back from adversity numerous times; the other appears more and more dejected. I have a lot more thinking and research to do on the subject, but I am very interested in the concept of learning resilience, and – because I’m an educator, after all – much heartened at the thought of being able to teach the skills that enable people to be resilient. Sharing the biography of Jason Becker is where I would begin.

Born in 1969, Jason Becker is a virtuoso guitarist and composer. At age 20, just as his career was really taking off, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and given just three to five years to live. Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, is a documentary about Jason’s life, and a moving testament to resilience. I challenge you to watch the film. In addition to gaining a much better understanding all the skills of resilience referenced above, you will – without a doubt – learn other life lessons, and may be (I hope you’ll be) inspired to share those lessons with others.

Jason Becker 
Photo courtesy of http://jasonbeckerguitar.com/photo_galleries.html.

SkillsUSA: 2014 NLSC Contest Results

July 11th, 2014

By Dave Milliken, National SkillsUSA Board Member
Utah Skilled and Technical Sciences specialist
Utah State Office of Education

In June, 170 secondary and postsecondary Utah SkillsUSA student members competed in 74 of 99 skill competitions at the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. From carpentry to plumbing to technical drafting to firefighting, Utah SkillsUSA student members competed against their peers with skill, determination, and focused concentration.

Congratulations to the Utah SkillsUSA members who competed in a contest. Five secondary students were national medalists, with four receiving silver medals, and one receiving a bronze medal. Thirty-one postsecondary students were national medalists, with 15 receiving gold medals, 12 receiving silver medals, and 4 receiving bronze medals. At the conference, Utah ranked 7th in receiving the most medals of any one state. HERE is the list of contest results.

SkillsUSA Championships: By the Numbers

> 6,111 competitors
> 99 hands-on and leadership contests
> 787,482 square feet of contest space – equivalent to the area of more than 16 football fields
> 800 judges
> 600 technical committee members
> 420 National Education Team/volunteer conference management staff
> 180 Courtesy Corps volunteers totaling 60,000 volunteer hours
> 1,125 medals presented (gold, silver, and bronze)
> 175 recognition awards
> 146 individuals and 21 teams received the President’s Volunteer Service Award
> 50 $1,000 scholarships awarded to competitors for travel to the conference, sponsored by the mikeroweWORKS Foundation

After 21 years in Kansas City, Missouri, National SkillsUSA has said good-bye to our host city and moved to our new home—for at least the next six years—in Louisville, Kentucky. As hard as it is to leave Kansas City, we are excited for the new possibilities that Louisville will bring.

In Louisville, unlike Kansas City, we will have the tradeshow and all contests under one roof. Another advantage of moving the conference to Louisville is that the arena will be used for both the opening and awards sessions and parking will not be a problem.

As a state we enjoyed our hotel in Overland Park, Kansas City. It was close to shopping, restaurants, and Utah SkillsUSA was the only state delegation at the hotel. I personally will miss Kansas City. I have been there many times and I know my way around and will miss everything the area has to offer. However, at the same time I look forward to getting to know a new city and all that it has to offer.

Look out Louisville, Utah SkillsUSA is coming June 22-26, 2015!