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The Four

North Ed Career Tech programs celebrate a successful year

The school year has wrapped up, but students at Northwest Education Services Career Tech in Traverse City has a lot to celebrate as students took home awards from the Skills USA Michigan State Conference, where they put what they learned over the year to the test.

“Skills USA is a student led organization for us, my program. It’s a competition based, but my program does three areas. We do power combat motorcycle and marine, and they have a state competition usually in April. And the students can prepare by learning what they learn in their program or out in the industry. If they’re at a club, they can go there, compete in that area and potentially get first, second and third. And if they get first, they can go to nationals. It’s all about networking. It’s all about taking what you’ve learned and seeing if you can be the best in your state or best in the country,” said Power Equipment instructor, Jared Diephouse.

Students from the programs, Film and New Media, Graphic Arts and Power Equipment earned top honors. One freshman, Zoe Kline, is now getting ready to compete at the Skills USA National Conference after scoring gold at the state level.


“We had a week to create a short film under 5 minutes. They gave us a prop that we had to use in a prompt, and we found out those two ideas, like the day we were supposed to start filming and like we have a week to shoot, edit, get pre-production,” said freshman, Zoe Kline.

While it was Zoe’s first year in the film and new media program. It was also the first year in a classroom for her teacher, Mr. Wendlan, who played a huge role in preparing Zoe for this competition.

“It’s Very exciting. Like in my first year to know that we had this opportunity for our students to compete like at a statewide competition than at a national level because they won the States. I’m just so proud of the first-year students and the work they’ve done. All our students have done a phenomenal job growing this year. But when you get that little special kind of recognition and you put something together that’s really special, it’s just it’s a fantastic feeling. And it’s really like what we’re all about is those moments where it clicks and it all comes together and you can put all your skills on display.” said Film & New Media instructor, Zac Wendland.

And if that wasn’t enough to celebrate already, CTE Power Equipment Instructor Jared Diephouse was awarded Region 1 Teacher of the Year, chosen among candidates from 14 other states and the District of Columbia. He is now being considered as a National Award winner. That will be announced in December.


“It’s still shocks me and blows me away just thinking about it. I don’t get in it for the rewards. I don’t get it for the accolades. I get in it for the students. I absolutely love them. They make my day. And knowing the teachers see that and other people see it is great. It helps boost up our morale in the building and us individually. But I get in it. For the kids,” said Diephouse.

This nomination feels like a full circle moment for Jared, because 20 years ago he was sitting in the very same seats as his students, today.

“I was a student in 2001, went to TC West. I decided to come over and be in this same identical program. It was small engines at the time, and I went through it two years. I did co-op my second year at Roy’s General Store and Service Department, and I told the instructors there when I got done with this program that I was either going to go into teaching or I was going to own my own business. And many years down the road I had another instructor here who was my mentor for most of the time here, encouraged me to be a Parapro and working things out with family and stuff. I ended up doing that and he encouraged me to be a teacher. So, I started going to school and he moved over and started teaching another program here. And so, I applied and got the teaching position for the same program, and I was in,” Diephouse said.

The accolades being acknowledged at Northwest Education Services is a testament to the impact of the Career Tech programs, and students tell me that after being a part of these classes, they feel more prepared for life post-grad.


“I knew nothing, nothing about a camera walking in this year and now I’ve learned so much. I feel like I know how to edit. I can work a camera easily. I know about lighting and like it gives me a chance to come in and do something that I love every day and it’s like a nice break from school and it’s just nice because it’s helped me. I didn’t know I wanted to go into film after school, but now I know it’s something that I want to keep doing,” said Zoe Kline.

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