Homer alum gives back with vocational scholarship
Mathew Plant, of Power Plant Productions, is trying to give back to the community that raised him. Combining his personal love for professional wrestling and his gratitude for vocational education, Plant is teaming up with New Frontier Wrestling Alliance to create a scholarship opportunity to a graduating senior in the career technology education program at Homer High School (see info box, this page).
“Everybody has a story about wrestling, whether they hate it or watched it growing up with a family member,” said Plant.
That entertainment value could be put to good use.
Reflecting on his own time in school, Plant said, “I realized that I haven’t really given anything back. I learned a lot from (the teachers) and the vocational wing meant a lot to me. But I don’t work on cars or weld for a living. This is the only way I saw for me to give back. If we raised $500 or a grand or whatever it ends up being, I didn’t want to just donate to the school. That little bit of money won’t make much of a difference to a school. But for a kid who never thought about going to college or trade school it could make all the difference.”
Plant said there is a need in Homer for more opportunities to develop trade skills.
“I know a lot of guys that have really benefitted from this program. Guys who didn’t do well in regular classes, not because they weren’t smart enough, but it didn’t fit them,” said Plant. “There’s a real need to support this kind of education.”
Standing in his corner in agreement is 24-year veteran teacher Cam Wyatt.
“Seventy percent of the kids here will not go on to traditional college. One hundred percent will continue their education. ... They need to have great skill sets,” Wyatt said.
Formerly vocational education, career technologies education is gaining speed as a staple in American education. Traditional core skills such as reading and math have to make room for practical skills, according to Wyatt.
“Employers are demanding practical skills from graduates now,” he said.
With new additions to the program in the last 10 years, there is a larger pool of students that might qualify for apprenticeships.
“I’m not a master mechanic or a master carpenter,” said Wyatt. “But I know enough that I can teach these kids the basics and find out if they have the aptitude.”
From there, the students can go on or they can just take those skills with them.
“In Alaska, we are in a unique situation. Students from here can stay here. If they have an aptitude for a trade, skilled laborers can make big money in Alaska,” he said. “Alaska is all about home-grown.”
Like other education scholarships, this will be competitively based. Plant said that he intends to give this scholarship to the student with a plan.
“I’m going to give this to a student with a solid foundation laid out for their future,” he said.
Applicants would have to present a five-year plan and go through an interview process with Wyatt, HHS teacher Mickey Todd and Plant. Plant said students who are interested should contact Todd or Wyatt at HHS.
Plant intends this event to continue.
“For sure, we’ll make it happen this year. If it works I would love to keep going,” he said.
Katir Britton can be reached at Katir.Briton@homernews.com.
Power Plant Productions
presents the main event
“The Libyan Nightmare” J. B. Payne vs. “The Sarge” Max Steele
New Frontier Wrestling Alliance
Homer High School
7 p.m. Friday
Tickets $10, available at the door
Doors open at 6 p.m.
A portion of all ticket sales benefit vocational education
Don’t miss the after-party at
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