Story by Meridian Technology Center
For students attending Meridian Technology Center, the last year hasn’t just been about what they get from coming to class. It’s also been about what they give.
As part of the school’s Citizenship-Ready endorsement, students at Meridian have an opportunity to be recognized for their contributions to the community. During their time at Tech, over 90 recent graduates documented more than 2,500 community service hours.
“When students attend Meridian, we want to help them be prepared for life,” said Jeanie Zagar, Executive Director, Career Planning/Career Development. “We focus on the academic success that will prepare them to enter the workforce or college through Career-Ready and College-Ready Credentials. We also emphasize the difference they can make in the community through service.”
Stillwater student Isaac Ochsner logged over 150 community service hours during his time at Tech. He volunteered with many different events and organizations, but most of his hours came from his involvement in 4-H. He especially enjoyed helping with Change for Change, an Oklahoma 4-H service project that benefits the Children’s Health Foundation.
Ochsner also created his own project, 4-Hers 4 Firefighters, where he gets letters from local 4-H clubs and delivers them to local fire stations with a basket of baked goods.
“4-H has prepared me for so much and allowed me to grow,” Ochsner said. “The community service I’ve done through it has also been a great way to serve a community that has served me.”
In addition to individual service hours, many of the school’s programs provide opportunities for students to give back to Meridian’s district. In the fall, students from the daytime and evening Cosmetology programs offered free haircuts to students in the Perry school district. Students in Meridian’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Carpentry, Electrical Technology, Facilities Management and Masonry programs also assisted Stillwater’s Habitat for Humanity in building affordable homes for families.
CareerTech Student Organizations provide additional opportunities for impact. In October 2023, Business Professionals of America members raised more than $500 to support Special Olympics. They also provided Christmas gifts for local families who were experiencing a financial burden and wrote over 75 letters to first responders.
Students enrolled in health-related programs raised $550 for Agra Public Schools’ backpack lunch program, donated over 3,000 food items for Harvest II’s food drive and hosted a campus-wide blood drive through HOSA-Future Health Professionals. SkillsUSA students raised over $1,000 for Payne County Youth Services.
This year, other agencies that benefited from Meridian student volunteers include the Oklahoma Blood Institute, Stillwater Animal Welfare, Payne County Youth Shelter, Tiny Paws and the Stillwater Police Department.
Zagar added that the Citizenship-Ready endorsement bridges service with Meridian’s core values of impact and relationships.
“These values focus on others,” she said. “Students who earn this recognition are connecting the skills they gain at Tech to how they can use them to make a difference in organizations that are important to them and in the communities where they live.”
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, workforce and economic development assistance and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. The school has locations in Stillwater and Guthrie. Meridian is one of 29 schools within Oklahoma’s CareerTech system.
For more information or to enroll visit meridiantech.edu or contact a career counselor by phone at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.