Editor’s note: Glenn Krake is the adviser to the Amplifier/WLHSnow.com
It sounds like something out of a bad dream. Your classmates have been working on an essay for a statewide essay contest for the entire year, and you only find out one month before the deadline. You race to put it together, cut corners, and finish your first rough draft just in time for the due date.
And then, you turn in it, not even expecting to get acknowledged, and your essay wins the entire contest, not to mention $420,000 cash.
This is what happened to the WLHS Career and Technical Education (CTE) department on Dec. 4, 2017, when they won the $422,715 Oregon Department of Education CTE Revitalization Grant after only a few weeks of working on the application.
“We did not write the grant with the intention of being awarded the grant,” Assistant Principal Anya Hershberger said. “We thought that it was a really long shot. There were schools that had been working on it for over a year. We wrote it in probably about a month. We were shocked, and very happy.”
CTE is a program of study where a student learns the soft skills that are used in industry, like teamwork and personnel management, and also trade skills. The program includes courses such as journalism, web design and engineering.
“CTE programs help to give you some context,” journalism, yearbook, broadcast and creative writing adviser Glenn Krake said, “And help you say, ‘Okay, this is why I’m developing these skills, and this is how I could apply them. These are the areas in the past that I’m kind of interested in, and this is how I could potentially use them at the next level.’ So I think that’s a pretty valuable thing.”
The funds provided by this grant have positively impacted many areas of the high school. Approximately $300,000 went toward a multimedia design studio, a broadcast studio, a portrait studio for journalism and photography programs, and a manufacturing studio, while approximately $100,000 went toward a program that provides summer camps for middle school students.
The grant has also opened up many opportunities and avenues of study for students.
“This gives students amazing opportunities in web design and graphic arts, in photography, in journalism, in robotics,” Photography teacher Ann Breyne said. “It is so amazing to think that they could work here, maybe not have to do the traditional college track, and have good paying jobs.”
With the new technology and programs provided by the grant, students can benefit not only in high school but after high school as well.
“Research shows unequivocally,” Hershberger said, “that any student who takes one or more current technical education classes has a higher rate of not only graduation but also of college enrollment and success in finding a job after high school or after college. At the end of the day, we want to have our students active in the community in the form of internships and job shadowing. The goal is for students to come back after they have gone to do their post-secondary education, or right after high school, and be able to work and thrive in our community. Our hope is that every single student at West Linn High School can benefit from these programs.”