Sturgis High School junior Kori Stroh is a recipient of the Breaking Traditions Award presented by the Michigan Department of Education. Stroh is in the St. Joseph County Career and Technical Education (CTE) Welding program held at Glen Oaks Community College. The award recognizes students pursuing technical careers considered nontraditional for their gender.
Why welding? “I attended a Career Exploration event during my freshman year,” said Stroh. “I found welding both interesting and scary as I’m kind of afraid of fire — so I guess I decided to face my fears. I’m enjoying the program and like the experience of being at a college.”
Although somewhat frightening at first, Stroh now enjoys the process of creating something and especially treasures a holiday ornament, that spelled out the word JOY, she made for her mother last Christmas.
“It’s unusual to have a first-year student receive this award,” said Alyse Bannister, welding instructor. “I’ve enjoyed having Kori in my class since the first day we met — she has really come out of her shell this year.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of the lab welding training on the backburner, Stroh has been able to do some bookwork and online components for the course, in addition to her Sturgis High School classes.
Throughout the state, there were 58 high school students and 4 college students receiving awards.