What a rewarding, all-encompassing experience so many of us had together in Orlando! From the first moment we arrived for the annual High School High Tech Conference at the Margaritaville Resort last week, it was clear that this would be a gathering for the ages.
At the HSHT conference, Tiffany Vause provided a great presentation on the Florida Ready to Work career and technical education program. Focused on employability skills and soft skills training, this program gives students pathways to become better qualified for their future careers. We also discussed the importance of networking as it pertains to our HSHT Guidepost of communications skills. Networking is a great way to teach students how to communicate in professional settings, with the added bonus of potentially creating long-lasting connections for life after graduation. These conversations were just two of many highlights throughout the time we shared.
Of course, we had plenty going on beyond these discussions--Ability Week was full of great opportunities to celebrate all things High School High Tech! Our 2022 awards ceremony Tuesday night recognized nine of our terrific sites and coordinators. Of special note, Robyn Rennick of Gulf County HSHT was honored with the Donna Mundy Award of Distinction. Robyn has served hundreds of students over the years, and has always embraced the core of what Donna, our dearly departed founder, friend and mentor, envisioned High School High Tech to be. My heartfelt congratulations to Robyn and all our award recipients.
And who could forget the 2023 Project Venture finals? The presenting teams from our Bay, Orange West and Union sites faced insightful questions from a top-tier panel of judges and intrigued audience members--some of whom are reading this right now!--and as anyone who was in the room can tell you, the students passed with flying colors. Congratulations to the teams and site coordinators!
It is truly an honor to serve as your State Director. Coming together with so many of you in Orlando, hearing your stories, discussing how we can continue to make this program stronger as we look toward the future--all of it served as a tangible reminder of what we each know: What we do every day matters.
You all have made the commitment to your students to provide them with opportunities for success as they prepare to embark on their post-high school lives, whether that takes them to a college or university, a trade school, an apprenticeship program, or straight into a career you helped them discover and explore. I'm hard-pressed to think of a nobler quest than the one you all chose, and continue to choose, to take on.
Thank you for making it such a pleasure to be your director. I can't wait to see you all at next year's conference!
High School High Tech State Director