RENSSELAER — Indian Trails Career Cooperative Director Jim Stradling attended this month’s Rensselaer Central School Board meeting to recognize local teachers and business partners who made the local school’s Career and Technical Education programs successful.

“The graduation rate for Indiana is 88 percent,” Stradling said. “That’s the standard average kid, no matter where you go in Indiana. The CTE graduation rate for our 10 schools, kids that are in our programs, is 96 percent.”

As he went on to put it, “we’re very proud of our programs.”

“For a lot of our kids, we’re the reason they come to school,” he said. “They may not be real excited about English and social studies, but they’re really excited about either auto service or one of the other CTE programs.”

Stradling wished to honor five local teachers for their work to help with career training education opportunities for local students.

“For some of your students, this is the teacher they connect with,” Stradling said. “This is who they bond with. This is the person they look to as an adult role model. So be proud of the fact that you have five that met the criteria, who we recognize as outstanding CTE teachers.”

Those teachers are Brandy Cook, Dan Glotzbach, Bryce Tanner, Joe Koczan and Ashley Webb.

Stradling and Rensselaer Central High School Principal Andrew “A.J.” Jones also wished to thank a local business partner who made a special internship opportunity possible for local students during the last school year. Stradling said employees of the local company Chief Industries went “above and beyond to help us as we try to transfer the kids out of the school setting and into the workforce.”

Jones said he and Chief Industries employee Melissa Miller got together at the end of last year to make an internship opportunity for some of the students. By January, they had two students taking advantage of that internship, mentored by Chief Industries employee Bob Golik.

“They both completed the internship, the 18 weeks,” Jones said of the students. “They braved the winter weather and the delays that we had. It created some inconsistencies, but the experience they got out at Chief was second to none. I know those two individuals and their parents were extremely satisfied and excited that they got the opportunity.”