Congratulations to our own Gary Hicks, construction technology instructor at Manual Career and Technical Center, who won the 2014 Breaking Traditions State Secondary Educator Award!
Student Deisy Zapata had this to say in her nomination: "Mr. Hicks doesn't let us quit, and he doesn't let us down. For example, if we are building something and it goes wrong, he will keep a positive attitude and assist us in problem-solving it. We value the hard work and effort he has invested in each of us. We also realize that each one of us nominating Mr. Hicks comes from a different high school and a different walk of life, yet in our construction program we unanimously agree that we wanted to nominate Mr. Hicks as a great teacher; he is uniquely special and an outstanding teacher who supports both traditional and nontraditional students. We learn through hands-on activities and that makes a difference. Mr. Hicks has made a difference in our lives."
"Mr. Hicks treats us as equals. He doesn't look at us like, 'I don't think you can do this.' He encourages us and checks on us; we have the same experience as the boys. Our instructor expects us to master the same skills as the boys, and he allows us to work on our own projects. In construction, the only difference we see is the boys are physically stronger, but in the classroom and shop the girls find a way to get it done."
The Missouri Breaking Traditions awards, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, have honored nontraditional students and the educators who support them since 1994. Nontraditional students are those who have chosen career education in occupations or fields of work in which one gender comprises less than 25 percent of individuals employed in that field.