For the past eighteen years the Breaking Traditions Awards contest has honored outstanding students who have chosen specific nontraditional career and technical education programs based on their interests and abilities, and who have not let their gender influence their career decisions. Nontraditional programs are defined as those in which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in that field. Outstanding educators who are teaching in a nontraditional career program and who are supportive of nontraditional students are also recognized.
Moberly Area Community College Welding and Metals Technology major Stephanie Ley, Moberly, received top honors in this contest as State Postsecondary/adult Female winner this year. She was in competition with adult female students nominated by their instructors from 22 Missouri community colleges and 52 career and technical center adult programs. She was honored on April 20 at a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City, with the awards presented by Dennis Harden, Coordinator of Career Education for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Again this year, State winners will receive scholarship offers from every Missouri Community College and from Linn State Technical College. In addition, this year each winner will receive a scholarship from the Friends of the Missouri Women’s Council on behalf of the Missouri Women’s Council.
To qualify for entrance into this competition, students must be nominated by their instructors or a school administrator. Ms. Ley was nominated by Patricia Twaddle, MACC’s Director of Career and Placement Services. Nominators answer five questions about their candidates. Student nominees also respond to five questions, plus draft a 500 word essay. Ms. Twaddle wrote, “Stephanie successfully juggles many roles and makes it seem almost effortless…She is actively parenting six children ranging from toddlers to teenagers. She is a model college student in a nontraditional program…Her dedication to her studies, her enthusiasm, the clarity of her dreams, aspirations and goals, and her eagerness to learn make her stand apart from most.”
Ms. Ley wrote, “Mechanical ability has run in my family for generations…I want to show the way for my daughters that I can work toward achieving my own dream of learning to weld so that I can repair and build things out of metal…My career goal is to help local farmers and ranchers by setting up a local repair shop to repair and mend broken machinery and tools…With six children at home to care for, I think I may be a role model for my family and other students simply by trying something new…I have stretched and grown in ways I cannot measure, and stepping outside my comfort zone was just the first step.”
Sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Missouri Center for Career Education (MCCE) and the MCCE Career Education Coordinators, the Breaking Traditions awards are an excellent opportunity for students, career-technical programs, educators and schools to receive recognition and statewide publicity. Special thanks go to the instructors who took time to complete nomination forms for their outstanding students.
For more information and a complete list of State, Regional and Honorable Mention winners, please check the Breaking Traditions website at www.breakingtraditionsmissouri.org.