GAME ON! - Digital Media students pitch their game ideas

Students in CTE's Digital Media class have been studying videogame production, working on a project that not only calls for them to design a game from the ground up through concept, plotting, storyboarding and back-end design, but to experience pitching the idea to funding sources.

Students delivered their funding pitches last week. Instructor Jim Langley explains:

“The assignment here was to have the students present their Game Production Studio proposals to me. I will function as the CEO of the company once the project is approved. Until then, for the purposes of this, I function as the banking lender for them to procure a loan. In order for me to fund their idea, they have to propose it to me by explaining who their target demographic is, how much will their upstart costs be, showcase some assets and their proof of concept through the use of storyboards, etc.

I felt that, on the whole, the students did a solid job. I felt that the morning class did a better job because of their department solidarity, where all 4 department managers got up and participated in the presentation.

My hope for both classes was that they experience having to pitch an idea as an upstart company and take the time to think through the needs of their company and the direction their flagship product - in this case a class-wide collaborative videogame.”

CTE Students of the Month Announced

The Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District’s Career & Technical Education program has announced its Students of the Month for February.

CTE administration and staff congratulate these students, who were selected by teachers for positive performances in their respective CTE classes:

Walter Worthing of Harrison and Josh Riley of Gladwin (Advanced Manufacturing); Kyle Pratt of Beaverton (Agricultural Science); Bryan Pritchard of Farwell and Chris Shertz of Beaverton (Automotive Technology); Adam Van Buskirk of Farwell and Keton Blackmer of Gladwin (Construction Trades); Tyler Delecki of Clare and James Railer of Farwell (Criminal Justice); Rebecca Hakes and Marquis Czarnecki, both of Harrison (Culinary Arts); Devin Woodbury of Farwell and Hunter Hakes of Harrison (Digital Media); Jaedyn Myers of Beaverton and Lauren Reynolds of Gladwin (Education Occupations); Mia Fetzer of Farwell and Samra Rivas of Harrison (Health Occupations); and Mitch Sterner of Clare and Jayven Jacobs of Gladwin (Welding Technology).

The CTE program is grateful to the sponsors who support the Students of the Month program by donating gift certificates to the honorees. Sponsors include Buccilli’s Pizza of Clare and Farwell and Hungry Howie’s Pizza of Gladwin.

CTE Students Power Past Snow Days to Deliver ‘#DriveSafe’ Message

Farwell Junior Adam VanBuskirk attempts to text while driving on the simulator at the #DriveSafeCTE launch assembly in January.

Farwell Junior Adam VanBuskirk attempts to text while driving on the simulator at the #DriveSafeCTE launch assembly in January.

Students at Beaverton High School take the #DriveSafe pledge on Feb. 11, adding their names to those of students from high schools in Farwell, Harrison, Gladwin and Clare.

Students at Beaverton High School take the #DriveSafe pledge on Feb. 11, adding their names to those of students from high schools in Farwell, Harrison, Gladwin and Clare.

For teenage drivers, one second can change peoples’ lives forever. That’s the message behind a local student-led initiative to persude teens against distracted and impaired driving.

The #DriveSafeCTE campaign began when Criminal Justice students in the CTE program received a $1,000 grant to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. CJ Instructor Jeff Erickson said it mushroomed into something much bigger despite Mother Nature’s best efforts.

“This is a complete student-driven campaign powered by my second-year students,” Erickson said. “They wrote and won the grant after spending considerable time designing the campaign – the logistics, the tagline, the execution, everything. And right after we launched it, the snow days started piling up. It’s been incredibly difficult to get momentum with all the cancelations, but these kids have really put in the time to make it work, and they’re doing very well in raising awareness, which was the goal.”

The grant was awarded through the state’s S4SD program and Ford Driving Skills.

The campaign began at an assembly for all 300 CTE students in January. The Criminal Justice kids brought in two distracted driving simulators and expert speakers from the fields of law enforcement and the insurance industry. Students took a survey to assess their understanding and attitudes about distracted and impaired driving, and they received a bracelet with the campaign slogan – Yeah, it’ll just take a sec.

“The students’ thinking with the slogan was that it only takes a second while you’re driving for things to go horribly wrong,” Erickson said. “People think they can safely check their phone or text or fix their hair while they’re driving, but they need to realize how incredibly dangerous it is. It is the number one killer of teens and it’s just so important that we get the information out to students.”

Farwell senior Chloee McMann, one of the leaders of the campaign, said the group is using social media to simultaneously engage students and spread the word.

“We’re running a social media contest between all the schools,” McMann said. “The school that generates the most likes, comments and shares using a unique hashtag will not only gain bragging rights over all the other schools, but they’ll win a huge #DriveSafeCTE assembly for their school, with excellent guest speakers, contests, games and driving simulators.”

“We wanted to take this out to a whole lot of kids, so the impact is greater,” added Clare senior Tyler Dilecki, another project leader. “By sharing it through social media and our events, we hope to reach a broad span of students and help come up with a solution to this problem.”

For his part, Erickson is impressed with the above-and-beyond efforts of his class leaders.

“I’ve been blown away by their effort,” Erickson said. “They’re out there grinding, really working to bring this important message to their peers, and they’re doing it in a creative, engaging way. I couldn’t be more proud of these kids.”


(Note: In recognition of the vital role hands-on education plays in our schools and communities, this is one in a series of stories of success achieved by local students who participated in the Career & Technical Education program through the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District.)

On campus at SVSU

Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education serves many students in many different ways. Jon Damzyn arrived a little late to the CTE party, but that’s probably because he was busy doing 14 other things.

Damzyn is your classic do-it-all high-achiever with an impressive list of accomplishments at a young age: Top Ten at Gladwin High School, four-time MVP on the varsity golf team, two-time All-Stater and state qualifier, Positive Athlete awardee, four-year employee at Gladwin Heights Golf Course, home-based entrepreneur, National Honors Society member, Relay for Life Team/Staff Leader, Robotics Club Electrician and Rube Goldberg champion.

Damzyn, who graduated from GHS in May with a 4.0 grade point average, is studying Electrical Engineering at Saginaw Valley State University. His experience in CTE’s Advanced Integrated Manufacturing & Engineering program gave him a great early look at the career he’s now chasing.

On the links

“I’m attending SVSU to study Electrical Engineering,” Damzyn said, explaining what drew him to this career pursuit. “The magic behind electricity inspires me to know more. After looking into the future it could lead me to, the experience and the impact the job could have for the future of electrical power, I was intrigued to know more.”

Damzyn credits the passage of the CTE millage in 2016 with nudging his interest in the AIME class, which is offered as a dual enrollment with MMC.

Receiving a $2,500 scholarship from the Central Michigan Manufacturers Association

“AIME was introduced to me when the millage passed through and newer classes started to form, like Advanced Manufacturing,” he said. “I hoped to learn something new, and not only did it do that, it also contributed to a third of my entire résumé in experience and skills gained. Our high school couldn’t provide the same shop experience that I received in AIME.”

Receiving the Positive Athlete Award at Comerica Park

Damzyn’s interest in Electrical Engineering got a big boost in CTE.

“Having shop experience opened new areas to pick from and gave me a level of respect for shop work,” he said. “I had my mind set on Electrical Engineering and I found this was a good starter class to know more about general engineering processes through the shop aspect.”

While CTE aims to introduce students to potential careers and offer certifications that may apply, students also pick up valuable soft skills that have the potential to last a lifetime. That was certainly Damzyn’s experience in CTE.

“The experience in the shop and knowing more about MIOSHA safety is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “What I learned in CTE was something completely new that I may add to my bag of tricks and experience.”

Asked what he would tell students considering CTE, Damzyn is unequivocal.

“Any student should take as many CTE classes as they can take that pertain to their major,” he said. “I wish I started sooner so I could take advantage of the many benefits. I find some of the knowledge I gained from class helped in knowing on a college level which next level classes I should take, which is better than going with whatever the advisors think you know. Having college credits can not only translate to your profession, but it can also give experience and confidence to know what level you can perform at.

“Because of CTE, I was able to spend my time experiencing things related to my major,” he added. “Not one human’s career is exactly the same, so why should everyone follow the same curriculum?”


The Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District’s Career & Technical Education program has announced its Students of the Month for December.

CTE administration and staff congratulate these students, who were selected by teachers for positive performances in their respective CTE classes:

Ben Miller and James Witte, both of Gladwin (Advanced Manufacturing); Kole Thurlow of Gladwin (Agricultural Science); Tyler Warner of Farwell and Walter Doak of Gladwin (Automotive Technology); Austin Mangus of Farwell and Caleb Good of Gladwin (Construction Trades); Lauren Cotton of Clare and Chloee McMann of Farwell (Criminal Justice); Kade Tripp of Beaverton and Kaylea Anderson of Harrison (Culinary Arts); Cody Smith of Beaverton and Alexis Card of Farwell (Digital Media); Elizabeth Smith of Beaverton and Mariah Walters of Gladwin (Education Occupations); Amanda Zuriel of Beaverton and Killeen Kladder of Gladwin (Health Occupations); and Richard Johnson of Farwell and Tucker Roehrs of Gladwin (Welding Technology).

The CTE program is grateful to the sponsors who support the Students of the Month program by donating gift certificates to the honorees. Sponsors include Buccilli’s Pizza of Clare and Farwell and Hungry Howie’s Pizza of Gladwin.

'Hands-On' at a Whole New Level

Last month, students in CTE’s Criminal Justice and Health Occupations programs were participants in a special demonstration. Sandi Erickson and Jessica Heska from Compassus Hospice provided hands-on training through several simulations.

“The purpose of this activity was to provide students with the opportunity to experience in a small way what it is like to have to deal with a disability,” said Criminal Justice Instuctor Jeff Erickson. “We hope that by experiencing first-hand the struggles that some face on a daily basis, students will have a better understanding of others and become more empathetic when dealing with people. This is especially important in human service fields like public safety and health services.”

Erickson asked several of his students to share their perspectives of the day’s events, and they responded with a series of thoughtful essays. Read those below.



The Wilhelm Joseph Magnus Building for Skilled Trades Learning will house the new Automotive lab in Clare.


Middle Michigan Development Corp.

Clare Gladwin Regional Education Service District
Beaverton Rural Schools
Clare Public Schools
Farwell Area Schools
Harrison Community Schools
Gladwin Community Schools

Business and Industry
McGuire Chevrolet
Dean Transportation
Sugar Springs Marina
Macon Marine Center
Double D’s Automotive
Foster Automotive Inc.
Graff Motor Sales
Secord Lake Marina
Bob’s Tire Store
Triple M Collision of Gladwin
Gladwin County Road Commission
Michigan Automotive Dealers Association
Central Michigan Manufacturer’s Association
Snap-On Tools

Mid Michigan College
Central Michigan University
Ferris State University

Workforce Development
Michigan Works! Region 7B
Gladwin County Economic Development Corporation

Government, Non-Profit and Other Partners
Representative Jason Wentworth
Senator Judy Emmons
Senator-Elect Rick Outman
Senator Jim Stamas
Gladwin County Chamber of Commerce
Eastern Michigan Council of Governments
United Way of Clare & Gladwin Counties
East Central MISTEM
Clare County Community Foundation

Nearly 6,000 students in the region, including those in the Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education program, will be among the first beneficiaries of the state’s Marshall Plan for Talent Innovation Grants. The Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, which administers the CTE program serving high school students in Gladwin, Farwell, Harrison, Beaverton and Clare, led a local consortium that applied for the $1.254 million grant. On Monday, the state announced it as one of nine awarded consortia in the state.

Jim McBryde, President and CEO of the Middle Michigan Development Corporation, convened the group known technically as the Middle Michigan Professional Trades Talent Consortium. MMPTTC will use the grant to accomplish several objectives in CTE Automotive & Diesel Technology labs in Clare and Gladwin, assisting with the purchase of modern equipment and technology, as well as hiring Career Navigators to assist students and establishing an educator externship program. Through a partnership with Mid Michigan College, students in the Automotive program will have the opportunity to earn more industry-recognized certifications while still in high school.

“The work put into earning this grant was unlike anything any of us had seen,” said CGRESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler. “For four months, we’ve collaborated with nearly 30 local organizations – schools, businesses, colleges and universities, our state legislators, non-profits and many other entities. And it was worth every ounce of effort to be able to better prepare our local kids for careers they will love.”

The MMPTTC was one of just nine consortia awarded grants in the final phase after nearly 90 applied back in August. That number was pared down to 22 for the third and final round of applications in November before the final awardees were announced Monday at a ceremony in Lansing.

“This is a great win for our community, and especially for our kids,” McBryde said. “Every step we take is in the pursuit of developing our local talent to contribute to our local workforce, and this grant represents a significant leap in that direction.”

CTE Director Sandy Russell said the grant will benefit all local CTE students in some form or fashion.

“While it’s true that the grant money will help us equip our new Automotive and Diesel lab at the Magnus Center in Clare County, as well as provide for some much-needed upgrades in the lab at Gladwin High School, this is going to help us better serve every CTE student,” Russell said. “With the ability to hire Career Navigators to work with students at each school, we’ll be able to close the gap between kids, their potential careers and the local employers who need their talents.”

State Rep. Jason Wentworth praised the RESD for pulling together the right team to earn the grant. “This is where the Clare-Gladwin RESD excels in a way that nobody else can – convening the right players for the job, carrying out the execution and leading the charge on impactful projects,” he said. “This was a massive undertaking, and the payoff for our students and communities is huge.”

Presler was quick to credit the hard work of her CTE team and all the collaborative partners involved.

“One of the prime directives from the state for this grant was to pool resources, time and talent with as many partners as we could, for all the obvious reasons,” she said. “The good news is that we’re already well-versed in doing that, and so are our collaborators. Our gratitude extends to all who pitched in; their impact will be felt through our CTE programs for years to come.”

Culinary Arts Students Make Their Mark at ProStart

Each year, the ProStart Student Symposium held at Sysco HQ in Grand Rapids gives CTE’s Culinary Arts students the chance to apply their skills in a restaurant setting with students from around the state. The event is put on by the Michigan Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

Instructor Heidi Rocha shares her students’ experience: “Students were put in groups (management or culinary) with Industry professionals as mentors and with students from other CTE culinary programs around the state. Management students worked with a management mentor to develop a restaurant concept and present to the group how they would market their restaurant. The Culinary students worked with a chef mentor and had to create a full menu (appetizer, entree, and dessert) using the following ingredients: pork loin, hot honey, crystalized cilantro, mushrooms, barley and caulilini.”