Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis the Season...

As part of their final exam, Chef Carrie Risner assigned her Baking and Pastry students a festive project fit for the holiday season: use their creativity to design and build a gingerbread house with the skills learned throughout the semester.  Take a look at some of the fun results below!
Harry Potter, anyone?
Created by Rachel Bryan and Maria Ramirez
Three Little Pigs
Created by Becca Rice and Nicholas Komisar
Created by Julia Matera
Created by Josh Tharp and Clare Saragnese
Winter Wonderland
Created by Tori Deckhart and McKenzie Johnson
See the dog out front?
Created by Kenna Stanley and Sydney Tolbert
Star Wars!
Created by Jake Rettke and Ashleigh Johnson
The new phenom Angry Birds
Created by Zach Osborne and Jacob Jones
Pretzel Fence
Created by Jeff Ausmus 
Ahhh, we wish!
Created by Stellan Harris and Andrew Silvey
Created by Shaniqua English-Samuels

 Special thanks to Muhammud Al-Rawi for taking the photos!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Students Help to Create French Bistro

Chef Carrie Risner's Baking and Pastry students joined University Club Executive Chef Daniel Pliska to create a French Bristro right here at the Columbia Area Career Center.  Chef Pliska's traditional recipes included Almond Lemon Roulade, Mocha and Chocolate Eclairs, Fruit Tarts, and White Chocolate Mouse Tart, among others. Students helped to bake the pasteries, plated, and served them to walk-in customers as well as filled orders made in advace.  All proceeds went to the CACC Culinary Team Fund.  To receive advance notice of 
             Culinary events and specials, email                   and ask to be added to the distribution list.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Culinary Student Gains Experience at KC Eatery

Ever notice the boom of cooking shows over the past decade?  With the advent of cable television and the reality TV revolution, television stations like the Food Network and Bravo have turned a relatively quiet and behind-the-scenes profession into a modern day phenomenon.  Names like Giada De Laurentiis, Rachel Ray, and Paula Deen all resound in our pop culture minds for their roles on television shows and as media personalities.  But we often forget that behind the glitz and glam of celebrity-chefs are years of culinary training and countless hours spent in the kitchen to perfect a craft that hasn't always gotten the recognition it deserves.

One such chef you may recognize taking advantage of the blitz is Lidia Bastianich, known for her PBS cooking shows and a handful of high-end eateries across the country.  Luckily for the midwest and, in particular, one  CACC culinary student, Bastianich operates one of her rustic Italian establishments just north of Union Station in Kansas City, aptly called Lidia's. 

That student is Dahnya Rogers.

Dahnya is a second year Culinary Arts student at Columbia Area Career Center.  The Rock Bridge High School junior has compiled quite the academic and cooking resume.  Alongside her AP calculus and anatomy classes, Dahnya has become a leader in the CACC state-of-the-art kitchen, taking Culinary Arts I last year and Culinary Arts II this year--along with being a Teaching Assistant to Chefs Brook Harlan and Jeff Rayl.  "We've never had another student like Dahnya," Rayl and Harlan said.  "She's driven, works hard--I can't say enough about the kind of student she is."   

Enter Lidia Bastianich.

Through a chain of convoluted events, Dahnya found herself in Lidia's restaurant--but she wasn't there to get a bite to eat.  Instead, Dahnya spent the day working the line of the fast-paced restaurant, plating sandwiches and expediting orders.  For anyone who's ever worked in the culinary industry, it's hard to believe a young woman could come to a restaurant, jump right in, and keep up.  Though not a stranger to the upscale restaurant business--she's works the line at Mizzou's University Club when she's not cooking or studying for AP Statistics--it's still quite the accomplishment.  Working the line is stressful for the most experienced of chefs, but it's also an experience that many culinary students would be envious to have.   So how did she get herself into such a situation?  Well, it wasn't easy.

Students involved in the Culinary Arts program at CACC have the opportunity to participate in a student organization called SkillsUSA.  The group can be compared to DECA in marketing, FFA in agriculture, and HOSA in health professions.  It serves as a mechanism for students to hone their culinary skills and compete against other skilled students from across the state and nation, as well as meeting industry professionals.  While Dahnya was competing at one such competition last year, she met a manager for Lidia's in Kansas City.  After a brief conversation, he invited her to visit the restaurant and spend the day immersed in the day-to-day grind of the eatery. 

Dahnya jumped at the opportunity to gain experience at one of KC's best known Italian restaurants and took him up on the offer.   When she arrived at 7am, she found out that the manager no longer worked at Lidia's.  

Many 16 year-olds would have called it a day.  Instead, Dahnya phoned Chef Harlan, her teacher, who advised her to "just find a way in."  So that's what she did. She got into the restaurant, introduced herself to the manager-on-duty, and asked if she could shadow him for the day.  He agreed, and she spent the early hours learning the menu, touring the restaurant, and getting familiar with how Lidia's back of house operated.  "I had to learn fast.  I was really nervous, but once I got into the groove, I felt like I was a part of the team."

She must have done something right, because the manager invited her back--not only to work, but to actually meet Lidia.  So that's what she did...on her 17th birthday.  "She was so nice, and I got to work in the kitchen again."  This time, she made desserts and was able to chat with Lidia about her future.  

Seeing a successful businesswoman in the culinary industry serves as motivation for Dahnya.

"I want to go to Columbia University and major in business so I can start my own catering company," she said.  It's an endeavor that her parents whole-heartedly support and her instructors encourage.  Harlan agrees, "Dahnya has what it takes to operate a successful business.  If her high school record is any indication, she'll do very well for her herself."

Dahnya is appreciates having access to professional kitchens, chefs, and classes at CACC.  "I love coming to the career center.  It gives me the opportunity to learn skills that will translate into a career.  Without it, I wouldn't know that this is what I want to do with my life."

So how about that whole celebrity-chef stuff?  With a smile and a laugh, "I don't think so, but I do hope I'll be in the position one day to help high school students learn the trade like Lidia's has done for me."  

If we were the betting kind, our money would be on Dahnya doing just that. 

Broadcast Students Intern at KOMU

When Mizzou students vacate Columbia for Thanksgiving break, KOMU often calls on students enrolled in Columbia Area Career Center's broadcast journalism program to fill in. This year, CACC alum and current KOMU reporter Ashley Colley, known for producing the Friday Night Fever program, requested help with the local station's sports website.
"I love being able to give back to Mrs. Brueck and her class by providing them with opportunities at KOMU that she worked so hard to get for me," said Colley.  "It's a great way to get some experience inside a news station and see if this is really something they want to do when we are in need of help."

Rock Bridge seniors Anna Brugmann and Sarah Henzel volunteered and spent their break researching, writing, and publishing articles.  Colley noted that both Brugmann and Henzel were "very eager to learn and help out in any way possible."    

Instructor Haley Brueck encourages her students to get involved. "It's such a great opportunity for our students to be exposed to a working environment. With this experience they can enter college steps ahead of their peers."

As for Colley, she's now producing This Week in Mizzou Football with Gary Pinkel and This Week in Mizzou Basketball with Frank Haith that air on KOMU as well as Fox Sports Network in six different states, along with other sports and newscasts.  She credits her start to Mrs. Brueck, the BroJo program, and CACC: "Mrs. Brueck and the Career Center helped open the door for me at KOMU which helped me get to where I am today. I will be forever thankful for my time in Mrs. Brueck's broadcast classes and my time spent at the Columbia Area Career Center."

Check out Anna and Sarah's stories below!

Anna Brugman:

Be sure to watch for work done by CACC students during the holiday break--most likely they'll be in the "Today" show cut-ins!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ag Day a Success

Despite the rain and cold, Ag Day 2011 was a resounding success. Ag Day has become an annual tradition at the career center and grows each year. Instructor Larry Henneke initiated the event in an effort to showcase agriculture programs for not only his students, but all high school students. 

This wasn't your typical college fair, where post-secondary schools send a representative 
to set up a table and meet with interested students in the commons; rather, the schools brought in livestock and equipment as well as representatives to showcase their programs. In addition, agriculture leaders in the community brought animals and equipment which gave students hands-on interaction.

Truman State University brought horses, Mizzou's Dairy Farm brought a cow that students could milk, Linn State Technical College brought heavy machinery, and Lincoln University brought goats.  Kee Groshong and Stanley Lynn both brought antique tractors, Caroline Sicht brought cattle, and Sydentstrickers loaned a tractor.  Ag students manned the grill and sold hamburger meals to raise funds for future events.

Take a look below for some pictures from the Ag Day:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Army Medical Semi Arrives at CACC

Check out pictures of CACC students exploring the Army Medical Semi Truck!
Sophomore Grant Gould tries on an army medic uniform.

Junior Lauren Schimke comes to the aid of a simulated soldier.
Junior Kaleb Williams-Gadson checks out potential military careers.
Sophomore Hunter Blume controls a simulator on the semi. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

UPDATE! After Re-Count, FFA Team Wins Nationals

To err is human, they say. Thankfully for FFA's Environmental/Natural Resources Team, sometimes those errors are found and corrected.  After carefully recalculating scores from last month's National Convention trip to Indianapolis, instructor Larry Henneke received word from officials that one of his teams was mistakenly given second place when they had actually taken first.  All four team members: Sarah Darr, Cooper Martin, Thomas Pekkala, and Kelly Wilsdorf will now each receive $1,000 scholarships toward their post-secondary education in addition to the title of National Champions.  Congratulations on a job well-done! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

National Merit Program Recognizes CACC Students

Both current and former Columbia Area Career Center students were named Commended Students in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program this month.  Of the 21 students to earn the recognition in Columbia Public Schools, six are current CACC students and 12 have taken Career Center classes during their high school careers.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation oversees the annual program that honors academically talented students based on state and national criteria.  Last year, nearly 1.5 million high school juniors took the PSAT as a preliminary screening for the program. Only 34,000 students earned a Letter of Commendation--that's less than one percent of high school seniors in the country.

Here's a list of our current CACC students:
Austin Allen
CACC course: Floral/Plant Design and Greenhouse Production
CACC instructor: Sherie Rodekohr
Richard Flinn
CACC course: Laser Technology
CACC instructor: Rick Shanks
 Husam Abudl-Kafi
CACC course: AP Computer Science A
CACC instructor:  Nat Graham
Abigail Thompson
CACC course: 21st Century Life Science
CACC instructor: Christine Roberson
Jeanne Quinn
CACC course: Floral/Plant Design
CACC instructor: Sherie Rodekohr

Amy Vinyard
CACC Course: 21st Century Life Science
CACC instructor: Christine Roberson

Monday, October 31, 2011


You've thought about where to find a safe haven if a Zombie Apocalypse were to happen...right? Well, just in case it's slipped your mind, students in Laura Estabrooks' Geospatial Technology classes have you covered!  And even better, if you happen to actually be a Zombie, her class can also show you the best areas to attack.  It's a win-win for everyone!

If you're a bit confused, take a look at the map below.

What you're seeing is the end result of geospatial technology, a relatively modern use of accumulated data.  It's  the process of gathering information and placing it on the Earth's surface with the intent to make qualified decisions, like where the best place to build a new neighborhood sits or where there may be a need for a new fire station.

After designating the Zombie Apocalypse as the platform--if you haven't heard, zombies are a big deal these days in the teen scene, just check out MTV--students divided into two groups, committed to either finding safe places for victims of the Zombies or identifying prime places for Zombies to attack.  Students developed criteria for both sides.  Did you know zombies can't swim? As CACC junior Shelby Richardson exclaimed, "Oh, absolutely not.  If you're near water, you're good."  Or that they are not so great at climbing?  They also used their common sense, like where can you easily find arms to defend yourself against a zombie, and where military bases are located for protection.

Each student was assigned a criterion, developed a database of applicable coordinates, and then used geospatial technology to plot the information on the map.  For some, the process was a simple task, but for others, it was tough to compile the data. CACC junior Andrew Bare compiled the list of arms retailers throughout the state.  "It was tough to find all of the pawn shops, Wal-Marts, Bass Pros, and others," he noted with a smile, "but now we know where to run if the zombies come after us."

CACC Senior Brandon Braumstedt
CACC Sophomore Blake Hausman

"This was a great way for the students to really get energized and engaged about geospatial technology," said Estabrooks, "Now that they've learned how to use the equipment and technology with this project, we can really do some cool things this year."

An upcoming project Estabrooks has planned includes analyzing data from the Black Bear Project funded by the University of Mississippi.

Check back later for an update and more geospatial technology!

Pesticides, Anyone?

Ever wonder how that RoundUp spray you use on those pesky weeds could effect other things in your yard?  Come mid-March, CACC students Michael Pisano and Micah Fletcher plan to have definitive answers for you--albeit in two very different studies.

Pisano, a Rock Bridge senior, will focus on how the BT toxin effects worms and Micah, also a Rock Bridge senior, will be looking at how common herbicides effect spiders.  Both are in the preliminary stages of their experiments, with Pisano waiting to use harvested corn from Mizzou's Bradford Farms and Fletcher continuing to collect the correct species of arachnid.
Michael Pisano (L) and Micah Fletcher (R) work in the CACC Science Lab
The young men are both enrolled in Christine Roberson's 21st Century Life Science course where they have access to labs, equipment, and resources that will facilitate the experiments.  Pisano and Fletcher say that CACC has played an influential role in giving them the opportunities to explore their scientific interests.  "I've taken three science and lab classes at the Career Center," Pisano said. "It's given me the experience I need to be successful."  Fletcher agrees, "The lab has been a big asset. Our experiments hinge on having it available to us."

Pisano and Fletcher will present their experiments at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in St. Louis next March.  We'll update you on their progress throughout the year!

You can also check out the Columbia Missourian article on Pisano and Fletcher here!

DECA Students Elected to State Office

Great news from the 2011 Missouri DECA Fall Leadership and Officer Election Conference at the Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake Ozark!  Two Business Management and Ownership students won state offices--Michael Richardson as president and Sam Wright as secretary. Traditionally, larger districts dominate the elections, and with Columbia being the smallest in the state, DECA sponsor Scott Fuenfhausen called the double win a "monumental achievement."

2011-2012 DECA State Officers.  Hickman and CACC seniors Sam
Wright on the far left and Michael Richardson on the far right.
The two Hickman seniors ran against a total of 24 other state officer candidates for the honor of heading up the DECA State Action Team for the 2011-2012 school year. They had to perform at high levels in three areas: Marketing/DECA Examination, Screening & Nomination Committee interviews and a general election comprised of more than 500 student voting delegates from DECA chapters in Missouri.  As the first Hickman officers in over ten years, it is quite the accomplishment!     

Find out more about DECA and career education here!

EMT Program Ribbon-Cutting

A host of community leaders, school officials, and students were on hand Wednesday, October 26 to join in the ribbon cutting for Columbia Area Career Center's new Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Program for high school students.  Heading the program is Mr. Dean Martin, a 20+-year veteran of Columbia's fire, police and ambulance forces.  After an introduction  by CACC director Linda Rawlings, superintendent of Columbia Public Schools Chris Belcher complimented the Career Center's focus on building community relationships while preparing students to reach their future career goals.  The EMT program prepares seniors to sit for their EMT Registry exam which will allow them to continue schooling in the medical field or find viable employment directly after graduating high school. 

In true CACC fashion, multiple areas of study contributed to the event.  Students in broadcast journalism taped the ribbon cutting to be used in a future episode of CPS 360, culinary students prepared the refreshments served, and Muhammud Al-Rawi, CACC's FIRST Robotics member, photographed the event.  

FFA Brings Home Awards at National Conference

It's a long road to Indianapolis, but CACC agriculture instructors Larry Hennkee, Chuck Miller, and Kevin Duncan say it's well worth the bus drive along I-70 to take their students to the National FFA Convention every year. The 2011 delegation included the three instructors and forty of their students, all earning the right to participate by either being on a competition team or by raising enough resources to join the trip.  Of the twelve traveling to compete, CACC agriculture students placed in four categories.
Agricultural Mechanics award winners (L-R) Drew Wulff, Tory Chasteen, & Lucas Boland
The teams were as follows: Dairy Cattle Judging, 6th place out of 43 teams--team members are Ben Carpenter, J.T. Denbigh, Alan Perry, and Jessica Vaughn.  All were Gold level individuals in the contest, with J.T. winning the Holstein division; Natural Resources, 2nd place out of 42 teams--team members are Sarah Darr ($1,000 scholarship) and Cooper Martin ($1,000 scholarship), Kelly Wilsdorf, and Thomas Pekkala, all Gold rated individuals; Nursery/Landscape, 10th place out of 42 teams--team members are Brandon Gerardy, Courtney Johnson, John Marshall, and Nick Sublette, all Gold rated individuals; and Agricultural Mechanics, 3rd place out of 46 teams.  Team members, (all Gold rated) are Lucas Boland, Tory Chasteen, Corey Rueter ($1,000 scholarship), and Drew Wulff.
Instructor Larry Henneke conferences with students before competition.
Junior Sarah Darr, a student in urban conservation, helped her team to the second place finish in Natural Resources.  She said her CACC class, along with countless hours of preparation, helped the team do well in competition.   "We study it all: water quality and aquatics, soils, wildlife, forestry...all of it puts us a step ahead of other teams."
While some were competing, others listened to guest speakers, participated in workshops, and mingled with over 55,000 FFA students from across the nation.  "There's a real camaraderie among the Aggies," Henneke noted of the convention, "The kids are able to see that, no matter where you go in this country, agriculture is still a vital part of life."
FFA Seniors (L-R) Katie Dirks, Brooke Eaton, and Taulor Bunch 
Even though the students went to compete and learn, both Darr and fellow junior FFA member Kelly Wilsdorf say their favorite part of the trip was spending the week with their team members.  "Our team dynamic works so well together, inside and outside of the competition," Wilsdorf said.  "It was so much fun being together--the bus ride, the restaurants, the hotel.  It's a memory of high school that I'll never forget."
Duncan echoed Wilsdorf's sentiment.  "We go to Indianapolis to give them the chance to compete and bring home a whole new appreciation of the agricultural community, and we're lucky enough to have kids that will build relationships that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

Join Us for an Evening with a NASA Astronaut

If you've ever wondered how astronauts drink coffee in space, shower or perform other mundane activities in zero gravity, then you'll definitely want to share dinner and an evening with NASA astronaut, Dr. Sandra Magnus.

Magnus was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1996 and flew her first mission in 2002.  In an interview about her missions, Magnus said, "Atlantis was the first one I ever flew on, and now it will be my last mission as well.  So it holds a special place in my heart."

Join us for "Tales from Space: Inspiring the Next Generation of Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math."  Proceeds will benefit the Boone County K-12 FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Lego League Participation.

The program will be on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at the Hampton Inn & Suites at the University from 6:30-8:30 pm.  Cost is $30 per person.  Click here for tickets!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Double Up and Get Two for One!

Dual Credit students get a head start on the future by earning both college credit and high school credit for classes they take at the career center. During the most recent school year 252 students earned 900 semester hours of college credit for completing career center courses.

This is possible when the curriculum and the competencies mastered in a career center class are equivalent to those required in a particular college-level class as identified by the college or university.  Eligible students then receive both high school credit and college credit upon successful course completion.

Final grades are reflected on both the student’s high school and college transcripts. The college credit is transcripted for the student by the university whether or not the student attends that institution after high school graduation.  And the credit is transferable to other colleges and universities in Missouri and throughout the nation, if the student so chooses. As an added bonus, college tuition for dual credit courses is usually less than half the cost of attending the course on the university campus.

Currently 32 career center courses are approved for dual college credit by our partnering colleges and universities which include Central Methodist University, Linn State Technical College, Missouri State University, Moberly Area Community College, University of Central Missouri and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Stephens College will be joining our dual credit partnerships in the spring.

For more information, visit our website.

Friday, September 30, 2011

CACC Students Visit Bradford Farm

Every September, CACC instructors Larry Henneke and Kevin Duncan take students enrolled in their agriculture classes on a day trip to Mizzou's Bradford Farm, a research center six miles east of Columbia.  Over 150 students participated in workshops on landscaping, equine science, agriculture, in addition to many others.  Students were exposed to the real-life applicability of their CACC courses.
Students Kyler Guy, Austin Wallace, Jake Osgood,  Alex Shea, Bryce Prange, and Darnell Samuels participate in a team building exercise.  The objective was to lift a bowl of water using rubber bands and no verbal communication.

Michael Simpson, Jeff Martin, and Alex Shea examine a bovine fetus.
Students listen to Mizzou's Equine Team teach about equine anatomy. 

Connor Moore and Ashton Rhine get hands-on learning at Bradford Farms.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Faces at CACC

Mr. Randy Gooch
Position: Assistant Director
Previous Experience: My previous position was Director of 
Hart Career Center in Mexico, Missouri. During my public education tenure, I have also served as an Industrial Technology Teacher, Guidance Counselor and Vocational Resource Educator.  My corporate experience consists of Logistics Management with Wal-Mart, and I owned and operated a custom millwork shop.  Additionally, I have served in the US Army as a commissioned officer.
Why CACC?:  I have long thought of CACC as one of highest quality career centers in the state. It has consistently had strong leadership and is an example to many other centers.  When an assistant director position opened, I wanted to be a part of a highly successful team.  With the strong district commitments to Career and Technical Education, Columbia Missouri has a very bright future.
Interesting Tidbits: I enjoy listening to and playing music.  I also enjoy golf, gardening and biking.  My most recently found pleasure is teaching my daughter to drive.
Family: Married for 20 years with 3 daughters.

Mr. Dean Martin
Position: Core Essentials of Firefighting & Public Safety Instructor
Previous Experience: Retired from the Columbia Fire Department after serving almost 22 years.
Why CACC?: I was a member of the initial advisory committee for these programs so when the opportunity presented itself I jumped at it.
Interesting Tidbit: I am originally from the South Bronx in NYC
Family: Married over 20 years, 3 daughters.

Mrs. Diana Duncan
Position:  Secretary
Previous Experience:  Industry, Education (Agriculture Education Instructor), and Youth Development
Why CACC?:  I have always had a passion for career education.  As a student in high school, my favorite classes were Agriculture and Marketing.  Now as an adult, I see how the things I learned in those two areas, together with added opportunities to increase knowledge and develop skills at the college level, have equipped me with skills I use everyday.  The Career Center is a great place to explore interests and gain knowledge and skills you can use wherever you go.  I also love the education atmosphere and working with students.
Interesting Tidbits:  I have two wonderful sons Gentry (6) and Hayden (4).  We live on the four generation family farm that Kevin, my husband and also an instructor at CACC, grew up on in Centertown.  We also participate in the Boone County and Cole County Farmers Market where we market our farm fresh pork , whole chicken, eggs, berries and vegetables. 

Mr. Juan Flores
Position: IT/PC Technician
Previous Experience: I worked as a Networking Specialist for Everbrite Electronics for a number of years before moving to Columbia. 
Why CACC?  Because it rocks!
Interesting Tidbits: Computers seem to love me.  I can't explain it.  And, by the way, I'm from the Dominican Republic!  Adios, amigos!

Mr. Tony Kindwall
Position:  I teach Electronic Essentials and Robotics.
Previous Experience: I have worked as an Electronics Technician in the US Navy, then as a Network Administrator, and have taught Networking,Telephony, and Game Design at the Lake Career and Technical Center.
Why CACC?: I moved to Columbia to be close to my girlfriend and I wanted to expand my career.
Interesting Tidbits: I love playing frisbee, flying airplanes, and turtles.