Showing off their skillsStudents from SHS, EHOVE, Vanguard compete at SkillsUSA

What is it: The days of vocational ed are long gone from the high school curriculum, replaced by the term career technical education. Area students are even competing on regional, state and national levels, with Sandusky High senior Austin Ott earning his second straight gold medal at the recent SkillsUSA competition in Columbus.

Ott, who earned his gold medal in technical math, will compete in the national SkillsUSA event in Atlanta in June. Samaja Amison and Amahn McDaniel-Monegan will join Ott at the national competition after topping their drone category.

Sandusky High sent a total of 12 students to the state competition.

“This is a big deal,” says Brandy Bennett, career technical education director and assistant principal. “It’s really like the football or basketball teams. We had a band send-off in the morning for our career tech students. This is very important, if not more important, than sports and we want our students to be recognized.”

EHOVE sent 62 students to the competition and collected four firsts, three silvers and a bronze. In addition, EHOVE Adult Cosmetology and Esthetician students collected four gold medals and three silver.

Vanguard Sentinel Career and Technical Center had 29 students from its two campuses in Fremont and Tiffin compete in the state competition. Those students brought home seven gold medals, seven silvers and seven bronze.

The competition not only tests students on technical knowledge, but also soft skills, such as professionalism, resume writing, interview skills, and professional dress.

EHOVE's Micah Loomis and Jacob Myers compete in the Additive Manufacturing category.What is career tech education: The area of career technical education has become an important discipline as students are finding other ways to compete in a high-tech world without going to college. The instruction has more regulations, is now aligned with standards and has become more competitive with more measurable outcomes for students, according to Bennett.

“Career tech was associated with such a negative stigma just 10 years ago,” she says. “It used to be called vocational education and it used to be the place where kids were sent if they weren’t college-bound. We’ve really changed that. Laws have really changed that.”

Sandusky is considered a comprehensive school because it offers a career technical education in 13 areas. The program is officially known as the SHS Programs for S.U.C.C.E.S.S., which stands for skills, unification, college, credentials and certifications, earnings, significant, and student organizations. 

“One thing is, we have amazing teachers here at Sandusky High School and it’s a real credit to those teachers,” Bennett says. “Also, we’re kind of a hidden gem because we are a comprehensive school. We’re the only school around here that has that, so our kids participate in a career tech program while taking English and math and get to eat lunch with their friends.”

EHOVE and Vanguard differ from Sandusky because they are joint vocational schools, which are part of Ohio’s system for career technical education. They are often referred to career centers, according to the Ohio School Boards Association.

And the winners are: Ott, Amison and McDaniel-Monegan were the medalists from Sandusky High, all bringing home golds.

EHOVE's Community Service Leadership team of Tyson Raymond, Sancea Torres, and Leanna Marianek placed at the SkillsUSA competition.EHOVE students who captured gold medals included Kylia Cooper in health occupations professional portfolio; Justin Lewis in Internetworking; Mollie Tucker in collision damage appraisal; and the team of Sancea Torres, Leanna Marianne and Tyson Raymond were first in the community service team leadership event.

The Adult Cosmetology and Esthetician golds went to Mali Austin in barbering; Maddie McClellan in nails; Mila Yost-Frame in cosmetology; and Erin Wise in esthetics.

“Our EHOVE students and staff have worked so hard this year to prepare for the Ohio SkillsUSA State Championships,” says Charlie Warthling, EHOVE SkillsUSA coordinator and assistant director, transportation building. “Their time and efforts showed.”

Vanguard golds were collected by Jenna Brown in nurse assisting; Hannah Gilts in nail care, Aubrie Gooding in barbering; Jim Kline in automotive maintenance, light repair; Jonathan May in culinary arts; Mia Miller in esthetics; and Alex Windsor in automotive refinishing technology.

What's next: Students who captured golf medals qualify for the national SkillsUSA competition that will be held in Atlanta, GA, in June.

“Any student that received gold qualifies for the national competition,” says Kevin Dwight, technology director, Vanguard Sentinel Career Center. “Depending on the competition, some of the awards can include full year scholarships to schools."

Area medalists:


Austin Ott, technical math
Samaja Amison and Amahn McDaniel-Monegan, drones

Kylia Cooper, health occupations professional portfolio
Justin Lewis, internetworking
Mollie Tucker
Collision damage appraisal
Sancea Torres, Leanna Marianek and Tyson Raymond, community service leadership

Jenna Brown, nurse assisting
Hannah Gilts, nail care
Aubrie Gooding, barbering
Jimmy Kline, automotive maintenance light repair
Jonathon May, culinary arts
Mia Miller, esthetics
Alec Windsor, automotive refinishing technology


Shiann Case, health occupations professional portfolio
Luke Cutcher, industrial motor control
Karahgan Dale, Charlotte Farley, and Lynda Gittinger, promotional bulletin board
Micah Loomis and Jacob Myers, additive manufacturing

Jeremiah Albrechta and Aiden Hemminger, interactive application and video game development
Blake Dymond, Steven Hornyak, Kirk Jordan and Sage Martin, teamworks
Riley Emery, Jacob Mildner and Emily Wolf, chapter display
Justin Lininger, prepared speech
Alexis Robarge, restaurant services
Madison Shell, job interview
Jordyn Wedge, medical terminology


Nicholas Sellars, Isaac Tyree and Julian Villa, automated manufacturing technology

Alyssa Anvil and Carson Miller, interactive application and video game development
Cole Barth, masonry
Riker Durell, automotive service technology
Javier Mellott, collision repair
Ellie O’Flaherty, automotive refinishing technology
Madison Reinhart, early childhood education
Caitlin Thornbury, medical terminology
Isabella Webb, basic healthcare