Fifty-one students graduated Friday night during the school's 51st graduation ceremony.

On Friday night 51 students of all ages graduated from Grand River Technical School (GRTS) during the school’s 51st graduation ceremony.

Jayme Caughron, director of GRTS, welcomed the crowd of graduates and their supporters with a quote from Mike Rowe, an author, actor and public speaker. “Skill is back in demand. Steel toed boot are back in fashion and work is not the enemy.”

Students graduating from GRTS had to meet stringent requirements including, passing proficiency and certification exams, completing classwork, demonstrating practical skills, preparing for and competing in competitions, achieved industry recognized credentials and more.

“The past few years have seen a renewed enthusiasm in Career technical Education,” Caughron said. “For every 10 jobs in the United States, one requires a master’s degree or higher. Two of the 10 need a bachelor's degree or more, and the remaining seven? These requires some kind of career and technical education..’

This year’s speaker and the recipient of the Outstanding Sending Schools Educator Award, was Dr. Roger Barnes, superintendent of Chillicothe R-II Schools.

Barnes shared six life tips or advice with the graduates.

First was start a savings plan; second, become a giver and not just a taker, he told them.

“Become generous with your time, skills and your money,” he said. “For many the giving and receiving of your talents means a great deal. Give of your talents, your time and your skills.”

Third, he told them, possess a good work ethic and build relationships. Next, don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. The fifth point, be a mentor to others.

While a teacher himself, Barnes recalled the superintendent of the school approaching him and asking him if he considered seeking a higher degree and becoming an administrators. “I had not considered it, but he saw something in me, and encouraged me, and now 32 years later i hope i have had that effect on someone else,” Barnes said. And lastly, “Know that no matter what your true opportunity for success begins tonight. Bottom line is, graduates you matter and you matter a great deal to many people.”

Each graduate is now able to offer a set of skills that many will need, and depend on, he told them, including himself.

Adam Wolf, assistant director of GRTS, said as in year’s past 95-98 percent of graduates already had jobs before graduation. This year, in addition to the vast majority of the class already having secured jobs, three graduates will be continuing their education and one planned to join the military. For the last semester of their time at GRTS, students earned $35,000 in scholarships alone, not including any type of financial aid. “These are scholarships based on students performance, great work ethic, attendance and skills,” Caughron said.

After the presentation of graduates, Barnes was awarded the Outstanding Sending Schools Educator Award, Susan Meyers the GRTS Teacher’s Scholarship for $4,000 form the Churchill Foundation and Larry Fellhoelter was awarded the Outstanding Community Service Award.

Fellhoelter graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1979 and completed the Building Trades program at GRTS. He was given the Outstanding Community Service Award for having gone the extra mile in assisting students, the school and community, Mike Harrington, automation and electrical tech instructor, said. “He often encourages his employees to attend GRTS and provides part-time employment while they are in school. He provides guidance and offsite job experiences each year.”

Fellhoelter has owned Fellhoelter Electric, Inc., since 2006.

Students receiving the Perfect Attendance Award were: Owen Craver, Unionville; Cooper Grady, Gallatin; and Colton Hamilton, Trenton.

Students receiving the Academic Achievement Award for A's (4.0 GPA) were: Cooper Grady, Gallatin; Tracy Eddy, Unionville; Dylan Epperson, Braymer; Ramel Moore, Princeton; Ryan Robbins, Unionville; Tanner Wilkison, Chillicothe; Dylan Wilson, Brunswick: and Zachary Wilson, Trenton.