The future’s so bright for these Willoughby Eastlake graduates

N1904 P29006 H

By Mimi Vanderhaven

The Willoughby-Eastlake School District is the largest school district in Lake County, Ohio with approximately 8,500 students.

The Willoughby-Eastlake School District spans across seven communities including Eastlake, Lakeline, Timberlake, Waite Hill, Willowick, Willoughby, and Willoughby Hills.

We strive to prepare students for college and careers by putting students first, providing quality instruction, and spending targeted time on task.

As our graduates prepare to walk down the aisle and accept their diplomas in a few days, we caught up with three of them to explore the different career paths open to students within Willoughby-Eastlake Schools.

Thomas Siko, Northern Career Institute/Willoughby South Graduate, Welder

“I grew up mechanically inclined, so it was natural for me to want to enter the welding and fabricating field. I went through the two-year welding program at the Northern Career Institute. Ohio is one of five states with the highest employment levels for welders. Companies came to us recruiting. I was offered a job and have been working at Kennbal Fabricating-Welding in Willoughby since April. After my first week on the job, I got a raise based on the skills I already possessed. My instructors had a great deal of hands-on experience in the field and taught me so much. I feel well prepared for the challenges my career path holds.”

Tatum Gluck, Eastlake North Graduate, Army Enlistee

“I’ve always been a patriotic person. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized what a great career path the military could offer. My plan is to serve eight years in active service as a combat medic, have the army pay for my bachelor’s degree in pre-med, then go on reserves while I attend medical school, and then re-enlist as an Army surgeon. After the recruiters came to my school and piqued my interest, the school administrators were very supportive. They held a special commitment ceremony for those of us who had enlisted. I’ve been taking honors classes since elementary and feel well prepared for the rigors of a pre-med degree.”

Justin Panchula, Eastlake North Graduate, University of Cincinnati

“When I was in eighth grade, I did a job shadow at NASA with an aerospace technician and knew this was the career I wanted to follow. So, along with my teachers, we chose a curriculum heavy on the sciences and advanced placement classes. I took biology, chemistry and took two physics classes because I liked them so much. My teachers were very supportive, encouraging more intense study habits, like an all-day review of material before an exam. I was accepted into the University of Cincinnati Aerospace Engineering program, which should prepare me to design and build rockets. I’ve received two college scholarships. My dream job would one day be either at NASA or SpaceX.”

For details, visit