November 1970: Voters in southwest Ohio approved funding for a new kind of public school system, a joint vocational school district (JVSD) serving multiple school districts in Hamilton and Warren counties. The Hamilton County JVSD was created. It quickly grew as other area school districts decided to join, and the board of directors searched for other potential campus locations to serve the region.
As the district expanded well beyond Hamilton County, eventually serving 2,200 square miles of southwest Ohio, the name changed to the Great Oaks Joint Vocational School District.
Now, nearly 50 years later, the district is named Great Oaks Career Campuses and serves students at four campuses and in 36 school districts.
An estimated 40,000 high school graduates got their start at Great Oaks. They include at least one Olympic gold medalist, an Emmy Award nominee, business owners, and multiple fire chiefs and police chiefs. They save lives, design buildings, keep us comfortable, build and repair complex machinery, and protect our health. Chances are that nearly every southwest Ohio resident knows, works with, or has been helped by a Great Oaks graduate.
“We want to reconnect with our alumni,” said President/CEO Harry Snyder. “Graduates tend to be more connected to their home school, so over time we lose track of them.”
Snyder said that any Great Oaks alumnus should go to greatoaks.com/alumni and fill out the information form.
Activities throughout the year will honor the district’s history and the graduates who attended as high school students or adults.
On Jan. 8, the 50th anniversary logo was unveiled for the Great Oaks Board of Directors. The logo was designed by Harleena Chopra, an Anderson High School student in the Great Oaks Marketing Management and Research program. Her entry was chosen from among more than 200 submitted by Great Oaks students in a contest sponsored by the Great Oaks Education Foundation.
Submitted by Jon Weidlich, director of community relations, Great Oaks Career Campuses.