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All-American Success Stories in Workforce Education

 High School Career and Technical Program
 Builds Foundation

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Claire Elliott
First Place Winner, Career & Technical Education,
Region 5


Claire Elliott began taking career and technical courses during her sophomore year at Western High School. She enrolled in computer programming and food preparation courses, but finally found her occupational calling when she enrolled in the Drafting and Illustrative Design Technology program. Claire experienced success when she shared in the design of a Veterans' Memorial at Western High School. While at Western High School, Claire was also actively involved in the Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Communication Enhancement (SECME) program at Nova High School's Saturday and Summer Science Academy. She won the SECME National Poster Competition in 1999 and was flown to the University of Alabama for the award ceremony.

Claire was awarded a Golden Drum Scholarship (full tuition) by the Achievers of Greater Miami to attend the University of Miami (UM). During her time at UM, she served in a variety of leadership roles within the National Society of Black Engineers. After speaking at her graduation program, she obtained a position in the Edison Engineering Development Program as a service engineer. This is a two-year program that will train Claire in a variety of positions within the General Electric organization.

During her four years at UM, Claire regularly participated with Habitat for Humanity. She assisted in "Fun Day," an activity for students with disabilities sponsored by the City of Miami and UM. Claire was involved in "Hurricanes Help the Hometown," a public service organization coordinated through UM in conjunction with the City of Miami.

Claire credits her training in the Drafting and Illustrative Design program, along with her involvement in the SECME organization, for the great success she has experienced. She is thankful for the teachers who have helped her to realize her potential.

 Landscaping for Dollars

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Richard
Ehlinger, Jr
Second Place Winner, Career & Technical Education,
Region 5


As an exceptional education student classified with specific learning disabilities in the second grade, Richard Ehlinger, Jr. often found his school experiences unpleasant. Richard's introduction to a career and technical program would prove life changing. He enrolled in the Ornamental Horticulture program at South Plantation High School his senior year. Richard finally experienced success when his instructor saw untapped potential and began to place him in leadership roles within his class. He headed a project that landscaped the front of the high school. The fact that it remains almost ten years later is a testament to his talents.

Upon graduation, he obtained a scholarship from the Broward Education Foundation and enrolled in Lake City Community College in Golf Course Maintenance Management. Richard excelled in this 15 month program, and upon completion, he earned a position at Brandon's Sun City Retirement Golf Course. Within a short time Richard was responsible for maintaining 36 holes of this massive golf course and for managing the $5 million annual budget. After growing homesick, he returned to South Florida to a position with Plantation's Public Golf Course and a part-time position with Home Depot. He knew immediately that a full-time position with Home Depot was right for him. He has recently been promoted to an account manager responsible for working with large commercial and residential contractors.

Richard volunteers his time at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science. This facility has implemented a "Naturescape" program which allows Richard to utilize his skills gained through his horticulture experiences. He has regularly returned to South Plantation High School to visit the horticulture students and encourage their efforts.

For more information on the All-American Success Stories, see http://www.fldoe.org/news/2004/2004_02_13-2.asp.