Awarded Diplomas from GRTS
By Catherine Stortz
Ripley, 05 23 11
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley
Stoney Paustian, of Chillicothe, walks across the stage at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center to receive his certificate of completion of the diesel equipment technology program at Grand River Technical School. The school conducted its graduation ceremony Friday evening with 62 students receiving certificates.
Grand River Technical School conducted its 2011 graduation exercises Friday evening at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center with 62 graduates receiving certificates.
Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education president Paul Thomas welcomed the graduates and their families and friends.
Jayme Caughron, GRTS assistant director, introduced David Copeland, owner of Copeland Development & Construction Co., Inc., who delivered the graduation address. Copeland Construction Company is a full-service general contracting firm that specializes predominately in design/build commercial building projects. They currently perform work in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Arkansas.
Copeland grew up working in a family-owned commercial general contracting and development company and has been involved in the construction and development industry all of his life. Upon graduating from high school, Copeland attended the University of Missouri at Columbia and graduated with a bachelorís degree in Geology in 1983.
Copeland and his wife, Kathy, have two children: Joshua and Jessica, who are both currently students at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. They are members of Cornerstone Church.
"Over the years, David has been dedicated to serving his church, school and
community," Caughron said. "He has been an active member of the Grand River Tech Building Trades Advisory Committee for a number of years.
His enthusiasm for career and technical education positively impacts our staff and
In his remarks, Copeland told the graduates that, in addition to the skills they have learned, they must possess positive character traits to truly excel in life.
"Inside each one of us is the potential and the opportunity for
success," Copeland said. "It takes just as much effort to lead a bad life as it does to lead a good
life." Copeland touched on several principles which he said can be applied to any area of
one's life: work, family and relationships. Treat people the way that you want to be treated. He encouraged those gathered to make an effort to exceed other peopleís expectations, and to be involved in their communities.
"It is not all about you and what you can get," he said.
"It is about helping others in their life. If you go looking for a friend, youíre probably not going to find one. But, if you go out to be a friend, youíll find lots of
friends." Copeland also cautioned those in attendance to choose their words wisely.
"Your worlds can build up tremendously or your words can destroy
tremendously," he said. "We have the ability to really build people up and encourage each other, or we can destroy each other. Be a person who encourages and builds up
others." Tell the truth and be honest. "If you make a mistake, admit it. Donít try to hide
it," Copeland said. "When you hide things from others, you destroy your credibility and your trust. If you canít be trusted with the little things, how an you be trusted with the big
things?" Live a life of integrity and high moral character.
"Part of a high moral character involves doing what you say you are going to do," Copeland said.
"If you tell someone that you are going to do something, then you do
it," he said. "If something comes up and you can't do it, tell the person and find an agreeable solution that maintains your integrity and your relationship, if at all
possible." "Everyone makes mistakes and/or has problems," he said.
"It is the way that you handle the mistake or problem that will separate you from
others," he said. "Be direct and hit it head on. Donít hide or run from the
problem." He closed his remarks by emphasizing the importance of character and integrity, and posed a question to the graduates.
"Your ability, your talents and your gifts will promote you and allow you to advance to the top, but it is your moral character and your integrity that will keep you
there." "... What difference do you want your life to
After his remarks, the achievements of several graduates were recognized.
GRTS Honors Williams for
Grand River Technical School recognizes one supporter of the school each year with the Outstanding Community Service Award.
"The GRTS depends on support, advice and encouragement from our
community," said GRTS co-director Ron Wolf, who presented the award Friday evening at Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. The award was established in 1984 to give recognition to an individual who has provided support to the school, and has donated many hours of service to the school and its students.
C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley
This year's award was presented to David Williams, who Wolf introduced as being an agriculture student of his in 1982. He said that Williams had received 960 out of 1,000 points possible and had the highest grade in the senior ag class. While serving as FFA president, he also won numerous FFA awards, including being a member (along with his wife-to-be) of state
winning contest team that placed 4th of 39 states in the national FFA contest.
In presenting the award, Wolf said that Williams began his career in farming and became very active in many groups and organizations in the community.
"He has been a long-time member of the GRTS advisory
committee," Wolf said. "He is a director of the Litton
Agri-Science Learning Center board of directors." Williams recently retired after nine years on the Chillicothe R-2 Board of Education, where he was the board representative to
GRTS. In addition, Williams has been active on the Livingston County Soil and Water Conservation board and many other activities at the United Methodist Church.
David Williams (left), a former Chillicothe School Board member and a long-time member of the Grand River Technical
School's advisory committee, was presented the Outstanding Community Service Award by Ron Wolf, GRTS co-director.