BLOOMINGDALE-Former students of Jefferson County Joint Vocational School are in the classrooms once again, this time as instructors teaching the newest generation of pupils.
Nine graduates of the school currently hold
faculty positions and lead academic and vocational programs. Russ Achhammer,
Jen Davis, Diane Dalesio, Fred Jones, Soundra Mount, Todd Parker and Ron
Reasoner all once walked the hallowed halls as pupils and say it is a familiar
yet different world being the head of the class.
Achhammer studied at the school from 1982-85 in the auto collision
program, the same one he leads today. He said he had a passion for cars and the
JVS fit the bill. The Wintersville High School grad fondly recalled the good
times and friends among his fondest memories and said he enjoys being back in
his current capacity.
“It is rewarding to see the students learn the trade,” he said. “They come in not knowing what a screwdriver is and when they leave they are able to repair and paint vehicles. Things are a lot different now, but my teacher always told me to do my best and I try to pass that along [to my students.]”
who studied auto mechanics from 1989-91, said he always enjoyed anything
automotive and wanted to learn as much as possible. These days, he shares his
knowledge while assisting auto services technology teacher and fellow JVS alum Ron
Reasoner. Booth, who was a student at Edison High School, also imparts wisdom
about having the patience to do a job correctly.
“I absolutely love it. I love helping the students learn the automotive industry,” he continued. “I cannot believe I am doing something that I enjoy so much and helping the students learn and be respectful and kind to one another.”
Dalesio studied at the school from 1975-77 and said it only offered a junior program when it first opened. She found her footing in the cosmetology program—the same one she oversees today as a junior class instructor—and said it helped to determine her future career.
“I wasn’t sure what career I wanted and decided to try the ‘new’ school,” she said, adding that she attended at Wintersville at the time. “I remember how important this school made me feel, that the teachers really cared about what I did. They expected a lot from me and it pushed me to do better. This school changed my life.”
Now that she is teaching at the school, tries to incorporate what she
learned as a one-time pupil into her program today.
Davis, who is an English teacher, studied business data accounting at
the school from 1991-93 while attending Edison. Her former teacher was Cecilia
Abdalla, currently assistant principal at the site and Davis recounted how the
hands-on education definitely made a difference.
“My father was the power mechanics teacher and wanted me to visit the school during the sophomore tours. Once I was at the school, I decided that this was the place for me. The traditional high school setting was not working for me at the time and I needed something that was more hands-on and interactive,” she said. “Once I began my teaching career in 2003 at another vocational school, my dream was to always come back and teach at my ‘home’ school. The love for our profession and working with the students who have chosen to make the JVS a part of their education is second to none. We want our students to be successful and thrive, and we are determined to help them the best way we can. I love having the opportunity to teach and work with the students here at JCJVS.”
Freeman, who instructs the criminal justice program, got her footing in the diversified health occupations lab—now known as health technologies-- in 1993-95. She had then attended Buckeye Local High School and had her sights set upon becoming a nurse, noting the JVS gave her a head start.
“I enjoyed the fact that I could leave for work and gain experience to help me get into nursing school, and the teachers cared about you,” Freeman added. “I wouldn’t teach at any other high school. The other teachers and staff make it a great place to work and the kids are there to learn. They enjoy the lab as much as I did when I was a student.”
followed his path from a power mechanics student to its teacher today. The
former Edison High School student was at the JVS from 1993-95. He decided to
attend because he always enjoyed working on equipment and building things, and
the school provided such an outlet. He counted the friendships he made with
classmates among his fondest memories, saying they still remained intact
because of their mutual interests. Jones also loves teaching at his old
stomping grounds, saying he always stayed connected to the power mechanics
program since he graduated more than 20 years ago.
“I like being able to work with kids and pass on my knowledge of the industry,” Jones added. “I still continue to use some of the training aids that I learned with my students. I am thankful for the experiences that I had at the JVS as a student that made me well-prepared for college and then industry.”
Mount, who attended the cosmetology class from 1977-79, is the senior
instructor today. She recalled the school was only open for two years when she
became a student while attending WHS, and she was excited to apply for the
program because of her keen interest in hair and makeup and hopes to become a
“Being a quite at the home school, I found at the JVS that since we had different schools feeding into it, all of the students seemed to want to belong. It was easier to make friends here and I liked being part of that,” she commented. “I am proud of our school and all the opportunities it offers to students. I also like seeing students grow during the year, when they pass their state board exams and are licensed and then go on to work at a salon.”
Parker, who attended Jefferson Union High
School (now Edison), was in the JVS welding program from 1985-87 but said it
was not his first choice. He initially planned to study machine trades, but a lack
of participants led to it being closed and he moved on welding. His teacher,
Roger Hilty, eventually became his colleague but was also a major influence and
mentor in his life. They worked together until Hilty retired two years ago.
“I believe things work out for a reason,” he said, adding that he could not afford to attend college and believed welding was a good career option. “My best memories from attending the JVS are how the teachers made me feel like I really mattered to them. I think that’s what made me want to come back and try to make a difference in my students’ lives. I absolutely love my job at the JVS and I hope that I am a difference maker in my students’ lives.”
who graduated from the JVS in 1991, was an AST student from Edison South High
School. He noted that his fascination with mechanics led to his choice.
“As time went by, my interest evolved towards automobiles, and when I had the opportunity to attend the JVS it was an easy decision what I wanted to do,” he said, adding that his instructor was welcoming and he made friends quickly, making his transition from a traditional school much easier.
He earned a certificate of completion in two years, attending the Vale
Technical Institute and was employed at a local Oldsmobile car dealership when
he was contacted by a former teacher about joining an auto service advisory
committee. That ultimately led to becoming a substitute teacher and then he
returned on a full-time basis.
“I never thought I would return to the JVS after graduation, but I’m glad I did. Every year there is a new class of current and future success stories and legacies that I’m proud to be part of.”
Cutline: Past students are currently teachers at Jefferson County Joint
Vocational School and impart their wisdom on future generations of workforce
members. Pictured are, front from left, Russell Achhammer, auto collision; Diane
Dalesio, cosmetology; Todd Parker, welding; and Jamie Freeman, criminal
justice. Back: Fred Jones, power mechanics; Jen Davis, English; Ron Reasoner,
automotive service technology; and Jamie Booth, AST assistant. Not Pictured is
Soundra Mount, cosmetology. )