2019 Valedictorian, Salutatorian Ready for the Future
Valedictorian Grace Jordan, Waynesville, Veterinary Science
In kindergarten, Grace Jordan decided she wanted to be a veterinarian. The Warren County Career Center Valedictorian kept that interest in animals, and has pursued her career path ever since. She will be completing the WCCC Veterinary Science program soon and will go on the Michigan State University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and then Veterinary Medicine. Her ultimate goal is to work with exotic animals, either in a private practice or at a zoo.
She first became acquainted with WCCC at Sophomore Showcase, a chance for all area sophomores to explore career and educational paths. “When I visited, I saw all kinds of animals in the Vet Science lab, and I thought to myself that it would be so fun to be with animals every day,” she said. “I knew the experience in the program would give me an advantage in college and in my career, so I applied.”
Her Veterinary Science lab has a reptile room, a cat room, and right now has a lot of space dedicated to a mother dog and seven puppies. The students have been assisting in spaying and neutering surgeries all year under the supervision of area veterinarians who volunteer their time to work with the students.
“We assist in surgeries, making sure the animal is good with heart and respiration rate and temperature,” she said. “We monitor them through surgery and wake them up afterward. Toward the end of the year, I got to scrub in, which is to wash your hands and get sterile, and I got to do my first-ever surgical incision with Dr. Caitlin. I felt confident, I knew I could do it.”
The lab has had 40-plus animals at various times and the students have learned to care for all of them. Grace said that she learned professional skills, such as communication and customer service, along with specific skills such as taking vital signs and monitoring health.
“I work at Waynesville Veterinary Hospital, and I wouldn’t have been able to get a job without the skills I learned in school,” she said. “I work part time and go there straight from school and work into the evening. I assist, clean up, stock, and am an extra set of hands to help with things like restraining animals for shots, nail trims and physicals. I asked all kinds of questions, and learned so much there. It helped me say, ‘yes, this is what I want to do.’ There are many students going into Veterinary college programs who may not have all those skills, so having clinic and lab experience is what helped me get into Michigan State.”
Grace took College Credit Plus calculus, psychology, and anatomy tech prep courses in her junior year, and CCP government and English in her senior year.
“Being in my lab helped me develop a friend group, and Mrs. P is awesome,” she said. “Mrs. Peloe knows we are capable of more, and she will be tough on you if needed. Also having Miss Belotti as a classroom aid was great. She gave such useful advice since she just graduated the year before.”
Grace lives in Waynesville with her mom Susan Gerspacher, 2 cats, 2 bearded dragons and one ball python.
Salutatorian Othniel Plata, Little Miami, Graphic Arts & Imaging
Othniel Plata, Little Miami, is the 2019 WCCC Salutatorian. He always liked art and visual design, and has an artistic eye for photography. He toured WCCC as a sophomore, and as he walked past the Graphic Arts lab, it sparked his interest. He talked to instructor Howard Norris, and decided to apply.
“I did my best and improved my skills, and now here I am at graduation,” he said. “I did my work in the lab, and studied for my academics. I have had a unique and fun experience at this school due to both my graphic design program and its people. I always tried to work to develop and improve upon my skills, and I got the opportunity to interact and learn with the finest of people. I do what I think is right, and now I am ready to go into my career field of visual design and photography.”
Othniel is a Certified Adobe Associate, which means he is certified in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. He will attend Sinclair Community College, where he has earned the Regional Merit Scholarship, and he has earned several college credits already while at WCCC, through taking College Credit Plus psychology, English, calculus, and government, and Tech Prep anatomy. He won third place for photography at the Ohio SkillsUSA Leadership Conference this year. While photography is a part of the Graphic Arts curriculum, it is not extensive, so Othniel got some extra help from Mr. Norris and did research online to learn more about the vocabulary and gear associated with the photography field. He already has experience as a published graphic artist. In his junior year, he designed an ad for a local magazine for his mom’s company, H.A.L.T. Auto Repair.
“By going to the Career Center, I got the academic education I would have gotten from a traditional high school, plus more, such as job skills, certifications, and skills in my desired career pathway in graphic design,” he said. “The teachers here are nice, and the school has a great staff. I am very happy with my choice to go to the Warren County Career Center. I was aiming for valedictorian, but salutatorian is great. I am very proud of Grace (Jordan, the WCCC valedictorian).”
Othniel lives in Maineville with his mom Corina Conner, and he has two brothers.