It’s never too late for Tech.
That’s the message Taigan Clark has for high school students in the Meridian district.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school,” she said. “During my junior year, I talked to my counselor about touring Tech with the sophomores. After I spent time in Welding I knew this was where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.”
Clark applied to Meridian as a junior and started the welding program when she was a senior. She has spent the last year and a half growing her skills with projects that have ranged in size from small crosses for friends and family members to a large feed trailer for a local farmer.
“I knew a little bit about welding from ag classes that I’d taken,” she said. “But this program is totally different. I’ve learned about the different types of welding and even a little bit about fabrication.”
During the first year of the program she earned her STIG and MIG welding certifications. She returned for a second year of training as an adult student and is currently practicing for the pipe welding certification exam.
Her instructor, Joe Steele, said that Clark is a leader in the classroom and consistently demonstrates a strong work ethic that motivates other students.
“Taigan has been an outstanding student, always taking initiative to advance her skills,” he said. “She has participated in leadership and skills competitions with SkillsUSA, and was recently nominated for the Breaking Traditions Award.”
Clark said that she’s glad she decided to look into Meridian as a part of her high school experience.
“I don’t think people realize that just because you didn’t start your junior year, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go,” Clark said. “Deciding to come on the tour and apply was the best decision I could have made for my future. I would definitely recommend Meridian to anyone.”
Apply and Team Up with Tech
Clark’s situation isn’t unusual according to Jeanie Zagar, Executive Director of Career Planning/Career Development at Meridian.
“Most of our high school students begin their junior year and attend Tech for two years, but that’s not the only option they have while they’re in high school,” Zagar said. “Many of our programs have one-year and two-year options. We also have tuition waivers and scholarship opportunities available so that recent graduates of district high schools can complete their career training with little or no financial burden.”
Meridian serves high school and adult students who live in the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts. High school, home-school and virtual school students who live in the district can attend tuition free during their junior and senior years. Sophomores can enroll in the Biomedical Sciences or Pre-Engineering STEM Academy or for afternoon programs when space is available.
Students spend a half day at their home high school and half a day with Meridian in hands-on courses. Meridian is tuition free for district high school students and includes free transportation from their home high school. Students can receive credit for high school courses in a variety of academics or as electives depending on their high school.
The high school application process for fall 2018 is already underway. Priority enrollment is February 1 and applications will be accepted as long as space is available. Enrollment decisions will be made in March. High school students and parents can learn more about the application process at meridiantech.edu/enrollment.
The adult enrollment process begins April 1. Adult students can enroll in any of Meridian’s career training programs, with the exception of the STEM Academy. Evening Cosmetology, Health Informatics, Practical Nursing and Radiological Technology are adult-only programs and have separate applications and deadlines. Tuition varies for each program. Please see the Cost Sheet information located on the program’s information page at meridiantech.edu/programs.
Photo caption: Taigan Clark started the welding program at Meridian as a senior in high school. She returned this year to continue her career training. She will graduate in May with multiple industry certifications.