Great Oaks Career Campuses board members, staff, business partners, students and friends gathered at Scarlet Oaks this month to celebrate graduates’ success and the work of the Great Oaks Education Foundation.
Keith Turner, a 2009 television/radio graduate from Reading High School, was emcee of the annual dinner provided by the foundation. Scarlet Oaks Culinary Arts students prepared and served the meal as guests listened to a recap of the foundation’s work and stories from graduates.
The graduates’ stories were similar.
“I expected to have an average job and an average life,” said 2014 graduate Matt O’Connell. “I came to Great Oaks and became a state champion and national competitor in student computer competitions.” O’Connell is now working full-time as a computer technician and working on a bachelor’s degree.
Great Oaks Health Technologies 2011 graduate Myeisha Butler gave credit to the foundation for providing a scholarship. “You believed in me,” she told the audience. “With your support, I earned an associate’s degree in nursing.”
Even Turner had a story to tell. “I had less than a 2.0 GPA,” he said. “My best subjects were gym and lunch. I came to Scarlet Oaks and the instructors and staff cared about me as a person and encouraged me.” Turner, an Ohio University graduate who became a youth pastor and retail manager, told the audience, “Even when it doesn’t feel like you make a difference, think about people like me.”
The Great Oaks staff and board of directors also honored Frisch’s for more than 25 years of work with students with special needs through the Restaurant Operations program.
The Great Oaks Education Foundation began in 1999 with an anonymous donation. Since then, it has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships for Great Oaks graduates and assistance for current students.
Submitted by Jon Weidlich, community relations director, Great Oaks Career Campuses.