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New Programs Celebrated with Ribbon Cutting
By Angie Talken
11 22 19 CT

There are new opportunities for learning at Grand River Technical School. On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce and students from GRTS celebrated National Manufacturing Day with tours of WireCo, GTRS, and a ribbon cutting for the new programs at the vocational school.

PHOTO: Grand River Technical School teachers and students were joined by members of the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday for a ribbon cutting celebrating four new course programs that GRTS has started over the last two school years. [ANGIE TALKEN/CT PHOTO]

After attending a national conference, GRTS Director Jayme Caughron and teacher Janice Shaffer began doing research on bringing a Hospitality and Tourism Management program to GRTS. After working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Chamber of Commerce, and doing research on the demand for tourism and hospitality jobs in northern Missouri, they were able to start the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at GRTS during the 2018-2019 school year. Caughron said there are currently 17 students enrolled in the program lead by Shaffer, which is open to high school juniors and seniors.

Also during the 2018-2019 school year, the Introduction to Engineering Design course was first offered to students as an introductory course to the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Program taught by Nancy Burtch. There are currently 22 students enrolled in the engineering program.

There are 33 students enrolled in the Computer Science program, which just began this year under the direction of Sondra Sturguess. "Brandon Dennis will teach advanced classes next year and currently incorporates cybersecurity and programming, which is a component of this curriculum, in his Computer Networking program," Caughron noted.

There is a unique aspect to the engineering and computer science programs that allows students who have a tight high school schedule to still take part in advanced classes at GRTS. "Both Engineering and Computer Science are available to students beginning in the 9th grade and are offered as an hourly class; and they can continue taking advanced classes all through high school, culminating with a capstone course their senior year in high school," Caughron said.

While the Welding Program has been offered at GRTS since the school opened in 1967, the Pipe Lab was added during the 2019-2020 school year. Due to the addition of the lab, Adam Melton was hired to join Lee Caughron, who has been the welding instructor at GRTS since 2001. There are currently 54 students enrolled in the welding program, which is offered to adults and high school juniors and seniors. "We are in the process of planning additional standalone course work in pipe welding for individuals who have already completed a welding program or have industry experience and just want to add certifications," Caughron noted.

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