GREEN  More than 100 seniors at Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) participated in the first signing day held by the school to declare their "E" – Enrollment, Enlistment or Employment after graduation.

On May 8, each senior signed their intent for what they would be doing after graduation. The day was in conjunction with Klein Tools National Signing Day 2019 and SkillsUSA. Each PLCC graduating senior introduced themselves and spoke of their E intent and then signed a large poster in front of parents, grandparents, friends, instructors and administration; and signed a letter of intent with representatives of universities, branches of the military and employers.

The day was similar to National Signing Day for high school athletes.

PLCC Principal Michael Kaschak said the students have chosen for the last two years to maximize their high school opportunities through career training and industry credentials.

“We believe these students are the catalyst for change, progress and reducing the gap in the labor market,” he said. “They are the muscle power in keeping our country moving forward and the workforce strong. They truly are the future.”

Kaschak introduced representatives of the military, colleges and universities and companies where students hold positions that were in attendance. 

Each student received a signing day T-shirt and those who have secured employment in the skilled trades also received a Klein Tools signing kit which included a hat, T-shirt and pair of Klein Tools pliers. 

SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American Citizens. The nonprofit program strives to improve the quality of the nation’s future skilled workforce.

The inspirational speaker for the event was Michael Muñoz, vice president of youth football and character development for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Muñoz is the son of Anthony Muñoz, a former Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle and Hall of Fame inductee.

Muñoz spoke to students about the motivation to take the tools they have learned and go out into the world to pursue their careers and make a difference. He used a tree analogy and working in words from Abraham Lincoln, “a reputation is like a shadow and a character is like a tree.” He linked character to a tree – strong unified trunk, strong bark, produces good fruit and a good strong root system. He then spoke about the iconic African Tree of Life, the Baobab tree. He said with a strong unified trunk the winds that come – turmoil’s in life – can’t tip you over. Bark protects us from the elements. The fruit that we bear as result of trials, is a part of our character. Roots are your support group – family, friends, teachers. Surround yourself with good, positive people. He read the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

Cade Vanest, of Green High School, is entering the Army National Guard. He said he will ship out June 10 to South Carolina and then he will go to AIT which is for individual training. He will be working on Black Hawk helicopters. After his training, he will come back to Ohio University and study physical therapy or business management. He hopes to go to flight school to fly helicopters.

Superintendent Kim Redmond weighed in on the day and said the idea for the signing day was a group effort. She said she was very proud of the kids, “my kids.”