Council goes to class

Warren City Councilman John Brown said he got goosebumps walking the halls of the Trumbull Career and Technical Center in Champion.

“I’m thoroughly impressed with the level of professionalism out here. These are (students) that are ready for a job, to be a part of society right now,” he said.

School Superintendent Jason Gray invited Brown, D-3rd Ward, and other council members out for an up-close look at the school’s students and offerings.

“I think that some of them have probably never been in the building. Until you are here, you may not understand the number of opportunities available to students,” he said. “The students like to be seen. They want people to see what they’re doing.”

Wednesday’s tour included Brown, council President Jim Graham, council clerk Brenda Smith, and council members Helen Rucker, James Valesky, Greg Bartholomew, Vince Flask, John Homlitas, Larry Larson and Cheryl Saffold.

Prior to the tour, Education Committee chair Valesky, D-at large, said he was eager to see what TCTC has to offer.

“It’s important that the city council sees the opportunities that are available through our educational institutions here,” he said.

Valesky also said Wednesday’s tour of TCTC was just the beginning and that he anticipates opportunities that tour Warren City Schools, Eastern Gateway Community College, Youngstown State University and other area schools.

“Our children are our future. I stress that we give all of our children the tools to seize the opportunities that we’ve created,” he said.

The council members were able to witness the implementation of various programs, such as biotechnology, science, interior design, public safety, architect drafting and design, animal science, electricity, landscaping and design, welding, equine management, early childhood education, cosmetology and nursing.

As the group heard from lead public safety instructor Jim Cerenelli, Rucker inquired as to the number of girls who participate in the program. Cerenelli said the ratio of male-to-female students is about half and half.

“We don’t have any women in our fire department, but now we have a resource to draw from; I’m excited,” Rucker said.

The tour also included a stop in TCTC’s new wellness center. The center is used in conjunction with a new exercise science program and was constructed with money from the Straight A Fund, which awarded TCTC nearly $300,000.

With the hands-on exercise science lab, students can do fitness testing and rehabilitation therapy, Gray explained.

Rucker, D-at large, and others tried out a couple of the fitness machines.

During the tour, health science student Toni Swegan-Kline of Warren spoke with Bartholomew about her education at TCTC. Swegan-Kline said in high school she received B’s and C’s, but while attending TCTC, she achieved all A’s.

“They actually want you to succeed here,” she said.

As a former educator, Bartholomew was particularly impressed with TCTC’s instructors.

“The enthusiasm of the educators here is off the charts. You can tell that these people are very in tune with what these kids need for them to succeed after school. It’s extremely impressive,” he said.

Valesky said no matter what ails the city, from poverty to lack of jobs to unhealthy lifestyles and addictions, it can all be cured with education. He called TCTC “an opportunity that wasn’t available when I was growing up but is here for the students of today.”

“We need to use these resources more. If we don’t take care of the kids now, who’s going to take care of the city of Warren?” he said.