Utica Shale graduates largest class
SALINEVILLE — The Utica Shale Academy graduated its largest class to date with more than 40 seniors receiving their diploma on May 31.
Forty-two new alumni turned their tassels after gaining certifications for the workplace during dinner and a ceremony at Southern Local High School, which sponsors the academy. More than 250 people attended the event including family members and school leaders.
USA Superintendent Bill Watson said class members impressed him by earning nearly double the credits in only one year as well as many certificates to get them ready to work.
“We have a group of 15 graduates that have completed 10 or more credits in one year, on average 21.5 industry credential points instead of 12 needed for graduation, which is almost double,” he said. “This is also the first senior class to utilize work-based learning. They get credits to utilize their skills at work.”
Instructor Nick Woods said the graduates gained 250 industry-recognized credentials through the NC3 program while all 83 students in the academy yielded a total of 870 credentials.
“That is quite an achievement,” Woods noted. “They are also eager to participate in outside operations of the Kubota tractor and forklift. I appreciate their hard work and am looking forward to hearing about their future careers.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Marla Peachock, a consultant for Ohio State Support Team Region 5, congratulated the class and highlighted different students she said exemplified such qualities as perseverance, dedication and integrity.
“Each one of you has your own story to celebrate and each one of you has the power and dedication to move forward. The way you do anything is how you do everything. Wake up every day and be the best you can be. There are always going to be challenges, so surround yourself with others who believe in you and are honest and challenge you to be the best you,” she continued. “I want to celebrate you, the Class of 2022. You are going to be awesome. Your life is for a reason and the world is waiting for you. What do you think your story is going to be? Go out and make it come true.”
Intervention specialist Mike Skrinjar then recognized Emily Galchick, one of 16 state recipients of the R.A. Horn Award for showing significant academic growth. Skrinjar praised Watson and the USA for helping students achieve goals and prepare for the workforce, saying students like Galchick have benefitted.
“[We] help students overcome challenges and they see there are people who genuinely care. Mr. Watson has put the right people on board. These people work tirelessly and work hard and they care about you,” he noted.
Skrinjar said he nominated Galchick because she showed a willingness to overcome adversity and blossomed into a very productive, hard-working and employable person.
“She has the skills to become a very valued worker. Her work ethic and drive will represent USA’s mission statement to provide a unique and vigorous learning environment through a specialized academic program which responds to employers’ and industries’ current and emerging changing global workforce needs and expectations through business and school partnerships,” he commented.
Galchick tearfully thanked USA officials and everyone for their support throughout her three-year school career.
Southern Local’s Robert Shansky announced the graduates, who received their diplomas from USA Board of Directors members. Among the newest alumni were Jayden Archer, Mara Bowers, Mackenzie Boyd, Brandan Butts, Reagan Buzzard, Justin Carlisle, Nevaeh Cassinger, Audrey Cazares, Jacob Coffman, Jesse Combs, Tashay Cornell, Emily Crawford, Kadin Cross, Ryan Davis, Dakota Densmore, Alexis Erickson, Joshua Fortunato, Emily Galchick, Kylee Grimwood, Anavrin Hackney, Trinity Harrington, Nathan Henderson, Ethan Hill, Jacob Hollingshead, Dillion Ketchum, Dylan Kriner, Kane Kurpely, Cole Lanza, Allison Lemasters, Ryley Mason, Markus McCallister, Zachery Mclaughlin, Valek Menough, Samia Mirto, Mason Patchin, Alexis Petrich, Seth Rawson, Markel Redman, Sara Rexroad, Charles Richmond, Leroy Rickey, Shyann Rogan, Logan Sandy, Damian Show, Montana Thomas, Dylan Thompson, Brian Tinker, Jonell Wade, Austin White and Brianna Zorn.
Finally, Dean Carter Hill closed the ceremony and bid farewell to the class.
Currently in its eighth year, USA combines blended learning and hands-on education to prepare students in grades 9-12 for a variety of industry jobs. The academy has expanded beyond oil and gas and now includes megatronics, Programmable Logic Controls, Internet-based courses, AC/DC electronics, pneumatics and hydraulics and electrical relays as well as a multimeter panel for electrical monitoring. Students are also learning how to operate construction and related vehicles and work has started on an indoor/outdoor welding lab that opens next year. USA is further collaborating with Youngstown State University to permit students to use the YSU Skills Accelerator program. USA uses the Virtual Learning Academy through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for online learning and a hands-on education that allows students to prepare for the workforce while still in high school. They earn industry credentials as well as skills. For more information, contact 330-692-0985 or go online to www.uticashaleschool.com