Jefferson College student Kayla Christian of Hillsboro recently received the 2019 Breaking Traditions Award for her success as a nontraditional student in the College’s popular Automotive Technology program.
The Breaking Traditions awards, sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), provides an opportunity for students, career-technical programs, educators, and schools to receive recognition and statewide acknowledgement for their achievements related to nontraditional careers.
“These students and educators exemplify the importance of lifelong learning,” Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven said. “By choosing nontraditional career programs, they are showing there are many paths to success for Missouri students.”
The awards recognize students in nontraditional career/technical education occupations in which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of those employed in that field. Since 1994, Breaking Traditions has honored outstanding students who have chosen technical programs based on their interests and abilities, and who have not let their gender influence career decisions.
Aside from her career aspirations and education at Jefferson College, Christian is currently completing an internship at Dobbs Tire and Auto in High Ridge where she works alongside an experienced technician.
“Kayla is easily the most motivated nontraditional student I have ever taught,” said Jefferson College Automotive Technology Professor Gerard Uhls, who nominated her for the award. “She is a completely rounded technician who possesses the drive to succeed along with shop skills, soft skills, and a positive demeanor. In short, Kayla solves problems in a way that encourages others to see the process.”
Career Centers, public two year colleges and comprehensive high schools can nominate a single student from each nontraditional program. Winners from the nine regions in the state are chosen by a panel of judges, and these finalists then compete for male and female secondary and postsecondary/adult State awards.