Helke Career Connections connects students, business leaders

By Brian Tregoning - Principal - Helke Elementary School

There is one question most of us can recall hearing at some point in our lives; what do you want to be when you grow up? Early in life, many children quickly say that they want to be a fireman, policeman, or nurse because they have had positive experiences with those role models and wished to emulate them. It is also a question that limits a child’s answers to those careers for which they already have some level of knowledge. It is hard for a child to know that they might be interested in engineering, carpentry, or the military without any level of understanding of the job, the required skills to be successful at that job, or the benefits of pursuing that career.

In the classroom, we know that students benefit from and comprehend better when they have real-world connections to the material that they are learning. In addition to making connections in traditional academic subjects, Helke Elementary School and the Vandalia-Butler City Schools are working to provide students of all ages with more experiences and connections earlier in life related to college and career awareness and exposure. Though our students are only 6-10 years old, it is not too soon for them to begin seeing some of the excellent options that exist in our community.

This year, Helke Elementary School is implementing a Career Connection program that will help our students receive an introduction to varied career and higher education experiences. Each grade level will partner with three local businesses. Throughout a student’s four-year career at Helke, he or she will acquire 12 different learning experiences.

We are pleased to announce the following community partners that will be donating their time and support to our effort: Kindergarten – Christy’s Family Pizzeria, Key Bank of Vandalia, and Kroger of Vandalia; 1st Grade – Beau Townsend Ford and the Victoria Theatre Association; 2nd Grade – the City of Vandalia and Wright-Patterson AFB 445th airlift wing; and 3rd grade– Dysinger Inc. Precision Machining, PSA Airlines, and Wright State University. In the coming weeks, we hope to announce our third partnership at both the 1st and 2nd grade level.

Each partner business has agreed to send representatives to Helke to share with our students about their line of work and how our students can apply what they learn in school to that career field. Within a week of when the business visits Helke, our students will make a site visit to their location. Students will be able to see, first-hand, what the company does and get a behind-the-scenes tour of each facility.

While most of our visits will be occurring this spring, our 3rd grade students have already met with Dysinger Incorporated, a locally-owned precision machining facility. Dysinger’s President, Dan Griffith, along with two other employees, visited Helke in October and allowed our students to see the process and efforts that go into making parts for machines or for robots that make other machines. Students learned about the need for precision and accuracy along with the high level of mathematics and measurement that is integral when creating proper parts. Soon after, our students were able to go to Dysinger’s facility, tour the shop, see and hold actual parts that were being created, and see the machines that were producing parts from raw material. Additionally, our students were able to learn about an assembly line and the importance of following precise directions so that the final product is correct. Just like the Dysinger visit, we expect that our students to be provided with a new or more detailed understanding of businesses in our community and possible career or educational paths with each visit.


By Brian Tregoning


Helke Elementary School

Reach Brian Tregoning at 415-3000.

Reach Brian Tregoning at 415-3000.