Great Plains Technology Center

Message from the Superintendent

As April Winds Down Remember to Celebrate Military-Connected Students

April is a busy time for Great Plains Technology Center. The school year starts winding down, and the month culminates with our annual Signing Day, which we celebrated last week. Signing Day is our annual event where high school students who have enrolled in a career program at Great Plains Technology Center, sign a letter of commitment to attend GPTech for the 2024-2025 school year. It’s an exciting time for these students and their parents. Seeing the pride on parents faces as they snap photos of their student signing their commitment to GPTech is truly heart-warming. Of course, nothing compares to the smiles on these students faces as their parents take those photos while they sign.

Many of these families are military, which reminds me that April is the Month of the Military child. It goes without saying that we appreciate the military and their service to our nation. April gives us that time to think about the sacrifices military families and their children make too.

For many of these students they’ve faced challenges most students don’t as a result of their parent’s service such as, multiple relocations every two or three years, to coping with a parent or parents deploying, and often dealing with the emotional toll of separation. 

At Great Plains Technology Center, I’m grateful to our incredible and caring instructors and staff who make our district a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for these military students and all students to learn and grow. Many of our staff and instructors are service connected either as a spouse, child, or a veteran themselves. They understand the challenges, because many of them lived it.

At GPTech we not only teach our students well, but our smaller class sizes also enable our instructors and staff to get to know students, provide more one-on-one attention, give them support, and demonstrate how much they value and care for each and every student who walks through our doors.

Not only do our students learn through hands-on learning opportunities in industry-relevant shops and state-of-the-art classrooms, but students are also able to earn industry-recognized certifications. That’s something that truly sets Great Plains Technology Center apart. Those industry certifications are going to be invaluable for our students whether they later attend college, start their careers, or join the military. The best part of our military-connected students is those industry-recognized certifications are mobile. They are not only going to be invaluable right here in Southwest Oklahoma, but they are also going to be invaluable wherever the military life takes them.

As April and the Month of the Military Child comes to a close, the next time you thank a military serviceman for their service, consider thanking the military spouse and the military child too. They are smart, strong, resilient, and often courageous. Every student is important to us at GPTech, it’s why we exist, but let’s take time these last days of April and show our support of military connected youth.

Clarence Fortney, Superintendent
Great Plains Technology Center

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