Rose Siminoe says the Alternative Cooperative Education program is designed for students who need to get out of a classroom and into the real world.
"Students that don't like the normal school regime, it allows them to get out of the building and learn work ethic and work skills and get credit for it," Siminoe said. "They get out there and they get pats on the backs from their employers because they're good workers, even if they're not successful in school."
She honored this year's students and businesses Thursday evening with the 25th annual Employer Appreciation Dinner at the Craig Holiday Inn.
In particular, she recognized Judy Peters, manager of Subway, and Jay Forbes, owner of Forbes Certified Welding, as the Employers of the Year.
Vanessa Padilla and Danielle Nielson worked at Subway this year, splitting their time between school and work.
"She's not only our boss but also a good friend," Nielson said of Peters.
Clay Foulk and Brent Kunkle worked for Forbes and said he is easy to relate to.
"Jay is a fair boss and is patient," Kunkle said.
Siminoe named Foulk, Flint Dillon (Maurices), Cody Norman (Planet Power Sports), Desiree Nugent (Moffat County High School) and Cody Reynolds (Samuelson's True Value) this year's Outstanding ACE Students. Rusty McCart (MJK Elevator) was chosen the Most Improved Student.
Other students who participated this year are Shawn Archuleta (Yampa Auto Body), Brandon Bingham (Peroulis Brothers), Chelsea Burkett (Holiday Inn), J'Lea Dalton (Kum & Go), Chris Hainault (TNT Custom Body & Paint), Alec Hayes (KRAI), Nathaniel Jowell (Wendy's), Colt Kenney (Auto Radiator Service), Megan McCarthy (MCHS), Wyatt Pacheco (Kmart), Shastity Roop (MCHS), Luke Rummel (La Plaza), Ridge Shreve (Mountain Meats/Tin Cup Grill), Shawn Steele (Peroulis Brothers), Cole Stuart (Village Inn), Tim Turner (Forbes), Justin Updike (Tri-State Equipment), Aly West (SpiritPass) and Greg Winslow (Black Mountain Glass).
Jericho Brown, Michaela Bulla, Brian Corey and Tiffany Wilde participated in ACE, but received no on-the-job training. Lisa Pressley, Jennifer Pressley and Rochelle Johnson completed the program after the first semester.
Brothers Meat Processing, City Market, Elkhead Steel, McDonald's and Moffat Insurance also employed students during the year.
Thursday's program included speaker Janiene Rader, human resources specialist at Craig Station power plant. She told the students of her role models growing up and the importance of attitude at a job.
"Be selfish and choose a job that makes you want to go to work," Rader said. "You just need to be who you are and be responsible for making your life and your career what you want."
Advisory board members also recognized Siminoe at the banquet for her seven years spent with the program. Siminoe is retiring after 26 years in education.
"I will miss the kids. I will miss the businesspeople," Siminoe said. "Just the change that happens, watching kids grow up and mature."
"I'm going to miss this program. I hope I can come back someday and see these young people successful wherever they're at."
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.