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 Associate Degree Nursing student Micah Graviett, Moberly, received top honors in this contest as State Postsecondary/adult Male winner this year. He was in competition with adult male students nominated by their instructors from 22 Missouri community colleges and 52 career and technical center adult programs. He 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. Mr. Graviett was nominated by Shelli Dougherty, Assistant Professor of Nursing, who wrote, “Micah is able to skillfully blend both the art and science of nursing in a way that far exceeds expectations…The quality and extent of thought and research that Micah puts into his assignments makes his work the best I have seen in several years. He actively seeks learning experiences and questions how he can gain the maximum benefit in clinical experiences.” Nominators answer five questions about their candidates. Student nominees also respond to five questions, plus draft a 500 word essay.
Although he was successful in a stable career with financial stability, Micah decided to enter the field of nursing following a conversation with his daughter a few years back. Her dream was to become a doctor, but her friends were telling her to choose a more traditional and easier career path. He encouraged her to pursue her dream despite the challenges and difficulties she might face and told her to choose a career that would make her happy. At that point she asked him if he was happy in his career and if he was following his dream. This prompted him to make the decision to go back to school and pursue his own dream of becoming a registered nurse. He wrote, “For all I have given up to pursue this career, I have gained so much more…Only those who love what they do and completely dedicate themselves to helping others can truly call themselves nurses. I have seen it written many times that to save a life you are called a hero, but to save a thousand lives, you are called a nurse.”
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