(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The beginning of his senior year started as normal as could be in 2020 but just one month later, a Buckeye Career Center Agriculture & Diesel Technology student found himself completing online schooling while working full-time hours.
18-year-old Chase Orr, of Claymont, spent around five weeks attending in-person/remote schooling before his instructor, Mr. Brad Pfeiffer began talking to him about school-to-work opportunities. The program allows senior students to receive lab credits while going to work during the day instead of attending in-person at BCC. Orr jumped at the chance, especially when he was approached by Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools Superintendent, Mr. Mark Murphy. Murphy was seeking to fill a head mechanic position within the Tusky Valley bus garage but weeks of searching failed to provide the right candidate. That’s when Murphy reached out to BCC to find a student who was looking for work in that field. “My hope was to provide an opportunity for a local young person to gain experience. We wanted to give someone a chance to thrive in real experience, while still under the umbrella of Buckeye,” Murphy said.
A few days later, Orr met with Murphy and BCC school-to-work advisors for an interview, which he was confident about. “It was exciting being able to know that I am a student they can rely on and trust. They chose me to interview. It was nice to get to know them during the process, though I was pretty nervous at first,” said Orr. “But my lab instructors gave me pointers to help me prepare for the process,” he said. Orr also used soft skills he learned at BCC his junior year, starting with dressing nice, showing respect, being polite, and listening intently during the meeting.
The rest of the story has become history and a great resume highlight for Orr. He began work in November at the Tusky Valley bus garage, spending five days a week repairing buses as needed and completing daily tasks, using the skills he learned in his lab and while working on vehicles at home with his father, who is also a mechanic. His evening hours are spent doing remote academic work but he says he wouldn’t change his situation. “Without the school-to-work program, I’d be waiting until I graduate to try to find a job. I’m thankful I’m here,” he said. He also keeps up with his BCC classmates. “I’m not missing out. I like being able to make a living instead. I still talk to my friends and we’re keeping up,” said Orr. As for Murphy, he is thankful for the opportunity, as well. “I hope this empowers him for success down the road,” he said. The plan is for Orr to retain his temporary employment through the end of this school year. Murphy is unsure what the position could lead to but he hopes to keep Orr on his staff in some capacity following graduation in May. Orr is one of 50 plus students participating in this year’s school-to-work program at BCC.