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Director's Weekly Memo 2018-8-27

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!

As we kick off a new school year, we offer best wishes to all students, educators, administrators, parents, and stakeholders for a successful year.

Each day the lives that you touch, the minds that you shape and the time that you give make a difference for the future of our state. Thank you for all that you do for the current and future workforce; no matter if it is with career exposure in elementary school or advanced skills in postsecondary, every aspect is vital to an individual’s career path.

Check out just of few of the pathways of success CareerTech educators have provided for individuals as featured in our CareerTech Champions.


Emma Hutchison – DECA- Putnam City High School

Emma Hutchison
Emma Hutchison
THEN: A class dedicated to topics like sports marketing and fashion marketing sounded exciting to the Putnam City North High School student. Emma Hutchison had also heard great things about the DECA advisers at her high school and the strong reputation of their marketing program.

Emma got involved in DECA and later was chosen to serve as Oklahoma DECA president. She said the CareerTech student organization gave her

  • Public speaking skills, which she uses almost daily, both in law classes and advocacy competitions.
  • Leadership skills.
  • An opportunity to travel and meet DECA members from around the world.
  • Confidence about her future.

“I am more confident talking to professors or interviewing for positions because of my experience addressing the Oklahoma DECA membership and staff,” she said.

Emma said CareerTech is unique in that students are learning material in class and applying it outside of the classroom at competitions and other activities.

NOW: A college graduate with a B.A. in political science from the University of Oklahoma. She is a law student at George Washington University Law School and plans to practice law in the D.C. area after graduation. Her resume since high school includes serving as an intern for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, an Appropriations Committee intern for the Oklahoma Senate, a legislative intern for the U.S. Senate and a law clerk for the National Association of Attorneys General.

“I would advise young people to take advantage of opportunities early in high school and college to get hands-on experience and gain skills you can use to make yourself stand out as a candidate,” she said.

“Employers should value CareerTech students because they are driven, passionate and skilled students who will become valuable employees.”
Emma Hutchison, law student


Shawnquise Gatewood – Mabel Bassett Skills Center

Shawnquise Gatewood
Shawnquise Gatewood
THEN: A high school dropout, living on her own by the time she was 14 years old. Shawnquise Gatewood was incarcerated on drug-related charges and spent several years at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. There she decided she wanted something better for her life and enrolled in the Skills Center’s transportation, distribution and logistics program. She also participated in CareerTech’s Employment Strategies for Re-entry workshop.

Joy Thomas, employment/transition coordinator for the CareerTech Skills Centers, said Shawnquise maintains a positive attitude and is serious about making changes to improve her future. At Mabel Bassett, Shawnquise learned

  • How to be on time, “no matter what.”
  • How to operate a forklift.
  • How to present herself to an employer, including how to answer felony questions on applications and in interviews.

NOW: Initially hired as a forklift operator, Shawnquise was recently promoted to machine operator at AAD/Flanders in Ardmore, Oklahoma. She says the promotion was due to her work skills and attendance. She received her high school equivalency diploma and says she is looking forward to a successful life outside prison walls.

“If it wasn’t for CareerTech, I wouldn’t have my forklift license,” she said. “CareerTech is the way to go.”


Adam Lettkeman – Meridian Technology Center

Adam Lettkeman
Adam Lettkeman
THEN: A boy who loved creating crazy buildings and dragons and spaceships from a pile of Legos. Adam Lettkeman grew up with 10 brothers and sisters. His parents homeschooled him until he was old enough to find a formal outlet for his love of building things, along with his passion for graphic design. He enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-engineering academy and Project Lead The Way in hopes of channeling his interests into a career path.

Adam was a year younger than his classmates when he started the program, but he quickly became very active, competing in robotics competitions, building model airplanes and more. Adam said the engineering program and the instructors at Meridian Tech

  • Helped him choose architecture as his career path.
  • Fueled his love for creating things, from circuit boards to buildings.
  • Helped him adjust to a classroom setting for the first time and prepared him for college class work.
  • Offered advance math and science classes that he said were more rigorous than some of his college courses.
  • Introduced him to 3D modeling software programs, which are a huge part of his architecture design studios in college.

“My instructor, Debbie Short, helped me not only in the classroom but also in my personal growth,” he said. “I will always remember how much joy she brought to the program and how much she helped me along the way.”

NOW: Adam has completed his first three years of a five-year architecture program at Oklahoma State University. He is interning at Guernsey, an Oklahoma City architecture firm, and will take time out from his internship to study in Europe with the OSU College of Architecture. His goal is to work in New York City next summer, accumulating additional internship hours that will apply to his architecture licensure requirements.

“PLTW really kick-started me into believing that my dreams could be accomplished if I set my mind to it.”
Adam Lettkeman


CareerTech events

First-Year High School Counselor Workshop, Aug. 29

First-Year Elementary and Middle School Counselor Workshop, Aug. 30

FCCLA Lead Conference - Simmons Center - Duncan, Sept. 6

FCCLA Lead Conference - Shawnee Expo, Sept. 11

Ready, Set, Guide: Reserve Your Seat for OK Career Guide Regional Training, Sept. 11


Useful links

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OKCareerTech and on Instagram at oklahomacareertech and read our blog, Oklahoma CareerTech Delivers.

For news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, subscribe to CareerTech communications.

State Agency Assistance at a Glance

National Center for Research in Career and Technical Education

Oklahoma Works

OK Career Guide

CareerTech Curriculum

Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it. – Lou Holtz
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