Tolles seniors shine during spotlight

By Jane Beathard

May 6, 2014

Families of students at Tolles Career & Technical Center near Plain City got an education at the school’s first Senior Showcase.

About 140 parents and grandparents registered for the event, according to Shane Haggerty, Tolles’ marketing director.

They participated in lab activities, chatted with instructors and learned first-hand what students in Tolles’ 22 high school career programs learn every day during the May 2 event.

For Misti and John Lucente it meant donning helmets and safety classes to watch Misti’s son, Jared Brown, wield a torch in the school’s noisy welding lab.

Brown is preparing for a career as an avionics mechanic in the U.S. Navy. He’s already enlisted.

“He wants to weld on aircraft,” Misti said.

Brown will graduate from Madison-Plains High School in a few weeks and head for basic training in August.

“I really approve of the training here (at Tolles). He’s learned so much,” Misti said.

Danny Seyfried is cooking up a future as a chef.

On Friday, he dished up burgers and French fries for parents James and Alice in Tolles’ culinary arts kitchen.

Seyfried, a senior at London High School, will attend Columbus State Community College in the fall. His goal is an associate degree in culinary arts.

Beyond that, he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts at Sullivan University in Kentucky.

Someday, he hopes to challenge Mario Batali on the Food Network’s Iron Chef.

His interest in cooking stemmed from an early interest in eating. Tolles’ culinary curriculum filled the bill.

“This school is very well run,” Alice Seyfried said.

Instructor and chef Gregg Needles proved a great mentor for her son, she added.

“I’m excited as a mother,” Alice said. “It’s very satisfying to see your child doing what he wants to do.”

Ashley Nichols, a senior at Jonathan Alder High School, wants a career in veterinary medicine.

On Friday, she was in the pre-veterinary science lab, showing her father and grandmother how to prepare a blood sample for examination under a microscope.

The procedure was trickier than it looked, Nichols noted.

She recently placed first in a veterinary science competition sponsored by Ohio’s chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals. In June, she will travel to Orlando, Florida to compete on the national level.

Like Seyfried, Nichols will pursue an associate degree in veterinary technology at Columbus State Community College before applying to The Ohio State University.

Bonnie Nichols couldn’t be happier with her granddaughter’s high school education.

“I think a lot of Tolles,” she said. “I wish they’d had it when I was in school.”

Tolles serves students from all four Madison County public school districts, as well as those from Fairbanks, Hilliard and Dublin.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.