CTAE Success Stories
Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Career Cluster
Will Ross graduated from OCHS in 2002. While a student at OCHS, Will participated in the Ag/Horticulture pathway and did an apprenticeship at Evergreen Nursery, Inc. He then attended Gwinnett Technical College and graduated with a Associates Degree in Environmental Horticulture in the Fall of 2005. A few words from Will:
"I grew up in the nursery business and was around it my entire life. I also was a member of the 2002 FFA State Winning Nursery/Landscape Team and participated at Nationals. In addition, I was the 2002 State Winning FFA Proficiency Award Winner for my SAE project. I owned and operated my own nursery for 3 years in high school. I was very fortunate to have 3 great Ag teachers that pushed me to take every Ag class I could. Whether it was from Greenhouse Operation to Ag Mechanics, I received a wide variety of education from those classes. I was also very active in FFA serving as Vice President of our chapter. My senior year I participated in the Youth Apprenticeship program and spent the last two blocks of everyday working at Evergreen Nursery. Not only did I get to gain a lot of valuable experience working at the nursery, but I was able to see my parents run and operate a business, manage employees, take their business in new directions and help shape the future for Evergreen Nursery. I put so much time and effort into learning about the nursery business from Ag classes to participating on the Nursery Landscape team and owning my own business that I grew to really appreciate the experiences that I had gained. I enjoyed the work environment and that I was able to work with my parents on a day to day basis. I also married my wife Bethany in 2005 and wanted to be able to support her and our future family and felt this was the best way to do that.
My advice to current students is go after what you are passionate about, but don’t be afraid to try something different or new. Be active in your areas of interest (ex. Be a part of associations or clubs) and in your local community."
Evergreen Nursery Inc.Architecture and Construction Career Cluster
I graduated from NOHS in 2008 and from Georgia Tech in May 2012 (major was Building Construction). I work for Pollack Shores Real Estate Group. We're a multifamily (apartment and condo) developer that has built ~4,700 units and owned over 8,800 units since the company was formed in 2006. We were just selected as the group to develop and build all of the apartments at the new Braves stadium/development. I've been selected as part of that project team, so that may be a good "example project" for you to use. The link below will send you to a press release that has current renderings of the project.
Pollack Shores Real Estate GroupEducation and Training Career Cluster
"From an early age I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Through the CTAE program at Oconee County High School I was able to work in classrooms while in high school. I graduated from OCHS in 2001. I attended the University of Georgia and Piedmont College graduating in 2005 with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Teaching English as a Second Language endorsement (T-Esol). In 2005 I began teaching at Bethlehem Elementary School in Barrow County as a kindergarten teacher. In 2007, I completed my Masters of Science degree in post secondary education from Troy University. Furthering my learning, I completed my specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University in 2009. I was elected BethlehemElementary 2013 Teacher of the Year. The following school year I began working at Oconee County Elementary School as a third grade teacher. I am currently in my tenth year of teaching and can not imagine doing anything else."
Megan R. Stephens Ed.S Third Grade Teacher
Oconee Elementary School
Finance Career Cluster
"I graduated from OCHS in 2011, after taking several business courses with Mr. Landry, as well as being the president of FBLA with him as the faculty advisor. The early exposure to business helped spike my interest in the subject, causing me to put finance as my major when I dual enrolled senior year. I stuck to that decision when I began at UGA. Thanks to OCHS, I was able to come in with a 19 hours of credit, enabling me to have a lighter course load and be involved in extra curriculars at UGA. I joined the student managed investment fund, an elite club that manages over $1MM for the UGA endowment, and later became the vice president of finance for the Finance Society, the largest undergraduate club in the Terry College of Business. I think it is important to note that these extra curriculars were instrumental in my success in networking and landing a top investment banking internship at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, where I then took a full time job offer. I am now 6 months into my role as an investment banking analyst in the Energy coverage group at STRH. The biggest advice I can give is to never be complacent—when you get into college, that doesn’t mean that you are able to quit your responsibilities as a high school student. When you get a job, that doesn’t end your responsibilities as a college student, and now that I am employed, I should never do just the bare minimum to keep my employment. The reasoning behind this is twofold—for one, the importance of networking. You never know who is watching, or what opportunities you will miss by being lazy. I wouldn’t be employed where I am today if I hadn’t leveraged all the assets available throughout my high school and college careers. For two, if you aren’t willing to put in the work, someone else will be. Every step of life gets faster and harder, and you have to be willing to push yourself. The second piece of advice I can give (and what will seem conflicting) is to be well rounded. Play a sport, have a social life, and do things not related to your professional area of interest. A majority of my friends now have jobs from networking through our college fraternity, and my relationship with my manager is better because I was the one who was able to go play golf with him and a customer one weekend."Cole Northcutt
Investment BankerSunTrust Robinson HumphreyHuman Services Career Cluster
Chef Kyo Inoko is a 2008 Graduate of North Oconee High School. Kyo trained as an apprentice under a chef in Hilton Head, SC. He has earned his Servsafe Manager Certification. Kyo has worked and managed four different restaurants in South Carolina and GA. He is currently back in Athens as the manager at Inoko Sushi & Grill Express.
Manager - Inoko Sushi & Grill ExpressAllison Wiltse graduated from OCHS in 2014. During her time in high school, she took numerous courses in the Food/Nutrition pathway. Allison currently attends Athens Technical College and will graduate in 2016 with credentials as a Certified Prep Cook and Certified Food Production Worker. She credits a cupcake competition in which she received 4th place as a first year student as the moment that inspired her to become a pastry chef.A few words from Allison:"Without Mrs. Gattie as a teacher, I would never have gone to culinary school. She showed me that I could be excellent at what I do and she shaped my future by caring about each individual student, She was the best teacher I've had because she truly cared about what you did with you life.I knew I wanted to be a Chef when I was about 7 years old and my grandma taught me how to make my first pie. Having the wonderful influence of my parents and grandparents in my life helped me make the life choice to pursue culinary school. The advice I would give to current students is to follow what makes you happy. If you choose a career that makes you happy, you'll never work a day in you life."Allison Wiltse
Taco Mac - Duluth
Marketing Career Cluster
"I graduated from OCHS in 2011 (feels like yesterday)! I participated in the Marketing pathway, taking as many classes as possible and was involved in DECA. After graduating from OCHS, I went to Georgia Southern University for all four years. I was Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design Major/ Marketing Minor, and graduated in May of 2015. Working during high school at Private Gallery really influenced my decision to major in Fashion Merchandising. Then continuing to work at The Red Dress Boutique and Cheeky Peach through out college when I was home gave me so much experience. Also volunteering in Savannah Fashion week was an exciting and educating experience. Now I am living at home again and opening Orchard Street in October. Orchard Street is going to be a rustic boutique with a little modern flare targeting woman from 18-35. It is going to be stocked with the latest trends at an affordable price. You can shop at the store on Main Street or shop online at orchardstreetboutique.com.
CTAE courses gave me the beginning interest in marketing and merchandising which lead me to my first job at a boutique in high school that I fell in love with. Also being involved in DECA led me to other marketing knowledge and pursuing my minor in marketing at GSU."
Owner - Orchard Street