Compass Summer 2021

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Superintendent’s Message – Perseverance is the Key to Success!


Adult Education Happenings


Polaris Honors the Best of 2021


Polaris Shines Spotlight on Student Employment



“Polaris was an incredible experience that allowed me to excel in a hands-on setting.”

Chef David Ina, owner of Zaytoon Lebanese Kitchen, always knew he wanted to pursue a career in the restaurant industry – it was in his blood. His family had a long history in foodservice and he grew up in that environment. After he graduated from Strongsville High School and the Polaris Chef Training program in 2006, he earned an associate degree in culinary arts from Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky, and later earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from The Ohio State University. Thanks to his formal Polaris training, he was ahead of the curve in college and often served as a “default teaching assistant” and helped his professors and classmates. Chef Ina has built an impressive resume in the culinary world. He worked as a sous chef at Crop Bistro in Cleveland, honed his skills at the Blackwell Hotel in Columbus and later ran a food truck, Hot Pita Mediterranean Street Food, which inspired his current restaurant concept. He joined the family business, Al’s Deli in Cleveland, and continued to refine his skills before formally opening Zaytoon in 2017. Zaytoon, located in the Theater District in downtown Cleveland, serves the breakfast and lunch crowd. Ina credits Polaris for giving him a solid foundation, “Polaris was an incredible experience that allowed me to excel in a hands-on setting. It truly helped set me up for success.” Interested in experiencing some of Chef Ina’s creations? Visit his downtown location or enroll in his new Polaris adult education classes which are scheduled for this fall – he’ll be sharing some of his Mediterranean recipes!


COMING SOON Adult Education Open House August 4, 2021 1st Day of School August 17, 2021 Polaris Open House January 13, 2022 HIGH SCHOOL ENROLLMENT SEASON

10th Grade Presentations September/October 2021 10th Grade Visitations November 15-17, 2021 Registration Night November 18, 2021

NEONATAL NURSE PRACTITIONER/ ACUTE CARE PEDIATRIC NURSE PRACTITIONER RAINBOW BABIES AND CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL At a young age, Jennifer Waiters had an interest in medicine and a strong desire to help people. That’s what attracted her to Polaris. Jennifer graduated from Berea High School and the Polaris Medical Assisting program in 1995. Her education didn’t end there. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Cleveland State University and is dual-certified as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner from Case Western Reserve University. She earned her Acute Care certification while teaching at Case. Her healthcare experience is as impressive as it is diverse. She started her medical career while still in high school working for Dr. Raymond Votypka in Fairview Park and later worked in the cardiac unit at Fairview Hospital, worked intermittently as a home care provider, worked as a patient care assistant in the ICU, spent time in the trauma unit at MetroHealth and worked as a nurse intern at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. She has worked and continued to teach at Rainbow for 21 years. She credits Polaris for helping her get started, “Polaris was my happy place. I was always excited to attend. My teacher made it fun and interesting, which set the tone for my entire career.”

“Polaris was my happy place. I was always excited to attend. My teacher made it fun and interesting, which set the tone for my entire career.” COMPASS | 2


IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS! By Robert Timmons, Superintendent

Congratulations, Polaris Class of 2021! We have again witnessed the graduation of over 600 high school, satellite and adult education students who are another step closer to achieving career success.

“You’re proof that hard work, flexibility and perseverance do pay off!”

Your Polaris experience has been like no other. Starting last spring when COVID moved us to distance learning, you embraced that experience and made the most of it. When we started the school year in hybrid mode, you thrived in that environment. And when we returned to full-time in-person learning, you embraced our health and safety protocols so we could remain in-person. You’re proof that hard work, flexibility and perseverance do pay off!

Health and safety protocols became second nature for our students this year – all keys to our students staying healthy and attending classes in-person.

I encourage you to take this same approach in college, in the military, in your career and in life. Embrace change! Be flexible! Persevere! Do these things and you’re destined to succeed! Remember, you are part of the Polaris family, and you will ALWAYS have a home here. Keep in touch! Best of luck, Polaris Class of 2021!



Three Polaris Project Lead the Way Engineering seniors have been selected for the FirstEnergy summer internship experience. Congratulations, Elizabeth Maxwell, Berea-Midpark High School; Matthew Budney, Strongsville High School and Brian Drobnak, Olmsted Falls High School!

Major League umpire Joe West recently broke the MLB record for most games umpired. To commemorate the milestone, he wore a set of customized protection that was built and designed by Daniel Blake, a 1999 graduate of Strongsville High School and our Graphic Design (now Digital Art & Design) program. Daniel is an industrial designer in the baseball and softball division of Wilson Baseball/Softball, Louisville Slugger, EvoShield in Chicago and was given this special assignment. In April, we inducted 81 students into the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) representing our on-campus and satellite programs. Nominees are evaluated based on scholarship, service, leadership and character. To be eligible, Polaris students must earn all As in his or her Polaris program, maintain a 95 percent or higher attendance rate and maintain a 3.0 accumulative grade point average. Ava Hollenbeck, a Berea-Midpark junior in our Broadcasting & Video Production program, was elected as the 2021-2022 President of the Ohio Association of Business Professionals of America (BPA). Last year, Ava served as the state Historian and in previous years she served as a voting delegate.

Joselyn Rabbitt, a 2017 graduate of Olmsted Falls High School and our Project Lead the Way Engineering program, has been named a founding member of the newly created United States Space Force! She was one of 250 people in the entire country to be selected! Joselyn was a star student in high school and college and now she’s shooting for the stars! This spring, we hosted the Cuyahoga County Police Chiefs Association luncheon and announced our new partnership with Baldwin Wallace University that will create a pathway for our Criminal Justice graduates to earn a BA from BW as well as a pathway for BW Criminal Justice majors to complete our Police Academy during the spring semester of their senior year. The luncheon also gave us a chance to announce the creation of our new daytime adult Police Academy which will start in January of 2022. COMPASS | 3

440.891.7600 OR VISIT WWW.POLARIS.EDU | #thenewpolaris

ADULT ED. HAPPENINGS ADULT JOB AND CAREER TRAINING PROGRAMS PREPARE YOU FOR IN-DEMAND CAREERS! Our 14 Adult Job & Career Training programs will prepare you for many of today’s in-demand occupations and provide you with the latest techniques to find the job that’s right for you. We’re excited to announce three new program additions this fall – Building Maintenance, Manicurist and a daytime Police Academy (coming in January of 2022). Featured programs: • Automotive Service Technician • NEW! Building Maintenance • Cardiographic Technician • Cosmetology Academy • Dental Assisting • Early Child Care Education/Child Development Associate (CDA) • Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration (HVAC/R)

• NEW! Manicurist • Medical Assisting • Medical Billing & Coding • Phlebotomy Certification • Police Academy (evening option starts this fall – new daytime option starts Jan. 2022) • Precision/CNC Machine Technology • Welding

We’re currently enrolling for fall. Contact Theresa TODAY at 440.891.7697 or to arrange a personal tour or visit jobtraining for more information. SCAN TO VISIT OUR JOB AND CAREER TRAINING PROGRAMS.


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4 5:00 – 7:00 P.M.

Explore our adult job and career training programs IN-PERSON and learn more about financial aid options, the tuition payment plan and federal student loans. Call 440.891.7697 for more details.

COMING THIS FALL! Our Adult Education department offers hundreds of classes designed to help you enhance your skills, prepare for new career opportunities or discover new hobbies and interests. Here’s a preview of what’s coming this fall: • Accounting Fundamentals I & II • Business Office Essentials • Commercial Drone License Prep Course • Digital Pathways for Business Series • Effective Interviewing in a Virtual World • Finish Your Basement • IT Help Desk Series

• Kitchen Basics • Path to True Health and Weight Loss • The Chef’s Table – Mediterranean Cuisine • Security+ • Youth Programming – Cake Decorating, T’ai Chi Chih and more!

Register online at or call 440.891.7600 for additional information. SCAN TO VISIT OUR OPEN ENROLLMENT REGISTRATION PORTAL.


POLARIS HONORS THE BEST OF 2021 Mary Hiros, Computer Networking Academy, Berea-Midpark High School, and Hannah Huynh, Dental Assisting, Berea-Midpark High School, were named the Outstanding Senior Students of the Year for the Polaris Class of 2021. Both are high achievers who plan to make the most of their Polaris experience.


Mary Hiros has excelled throughout her two years at Polaris. She has achieved a 4.7 GPA in her Computer Networking program and a 4.9 GPA in her college courses at Cuyahoga Community College. In fact, Mary has already earned her associate degree from Tri-C and was enrolled in the University of Cincinnati’s Early IT program. Mary is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America, Phi Theta Kappa and is a Polaris student ambassador. She is also a two-time recipient of the National Center for Women & Information Technology award. In addition to her achievements in the classroom, Mary is very involved in many school and community activities. She participates in cross country, indoor and outdoor track, marching band, student council, varsity golf, Cyber Security Club, Women in Computing, Hyland Hy-Tech Club and Model United Nations. She juggled a very busy schedule while also working for the Cleveland MetroParks and the Polaris information technology department. Mary’s Computer Networking Academy instructor, Tina Bright, gives her high praise. “Mary is a truly exceptional student that has a strong desire to learn. She is generous with her knowledge and willing to share what she knows with her fellow classmates.” Mary has set a clear career path which builds on her Polaris experience. This fall, she plans to attend Baldwin Wallace University and major in cyber security and finance and minor in entrepreneurship. She plans to further her education and earn a master’s degree and PhD in cyber security. She hopes to start her career in the FBI or a similar federal law enforcement agency and then later transition that experience to the private sector. She is the proud recipient of the Polaris Educational Foundation, BW Presidential and STEM Scholars Program scholarships.


Hannah Huynh built an impressive resume during her time at Polaris. She achieved a 4.0 GPA in the Dental Assisting program and a 3.9 GPA at Berea-Midpark High School. Her certifications include the Ohio State Dental X-Ray and CPR Healthcare Provider certificates. Hannah is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, a Polaris student ambassador, National Honor Society, student council, Key Club, Junior and Senior Executive Boards, PRIDE and a member of the Titan bowling team. She also participated in Camp Mi-Bro-Be as a counselor and has worked for many years in the Berea City Schools libraries. She also worked as an intern at Fairview Park Dental Care applying her Polaris skills on the job. Prior to coming to Polaris, Hannah participated in Project Lead the Way classes offered at Berea-Midpark High School. Hannah is also fluent in Vietnamese. Her Dental Assisting instructor, Rachelle Pickwick, raves about Hannah as both a student and leader. “Hannah is a goal-oriented young lady determined to succeed. She is a quiet leader who always goes above and beyond to help her classmates. Her compassion and generosity will serve her well in this field.” Hannah will continue her dental studies after high school. She plans plan to attend Cuyahoga Community College this fall and major in dental hygiene. Hannah is the recipient of the Polaris Educational Foundation scholarship. COMPASS | 5

7285 Old Oak Boulevard Middleburg Heights, OH 44130-3375 440.891.7600



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Mr. Matt Hrubey, President Fairview Park City School District

Mrs. Jennifer Bolander Fairview Park City School District

Mr. James Oper Brooklyn City School District

Dr. Neal Postel, Vice President Berea City School District

Dr. Joanna DeMarco Olmsted Falls City School District

Mr. Robert Timmons, Superintendent Polaris Career Center

Mrs. Michelle Bissell Strongsville City School District

Mr. Tom Herbster North Olmsted City School District

Mr. Mike Robinson, Treasurer Polaris Career Center

POLARIS SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON STUDENT EMPLOYMENT Student employment has long been an important area of emphasis for Polaris. However, accessing our employment resources hasn’t always been so seamless. This spring, we re-organized our website to make it easier for employers to connect with us. Our new “employ” portal is now available at

“We believe the perfect combination of exposure and experience is the relationship between education and industry.” Maureen Lehman

This central location offers quick links to information on posting jobs, employing student interns, participating in mock interview events, serving on advisory councils, becoming an adult education externship site, exploring job shadowing possibilities and much more. “We wanted to create a place where employers can more easily connect with our programs and students. We believe the perfect combination of exposure and experience is the relationship between education and industry,” says Polaris Employment Coordinator Maureen Lehman. “We also wanted to make employment COOL so we created student and employer SWAG bags. Plus, newly hired students place a magnet on our employer map every time they get a job. These things create buzz and excitement around employment,” Lehman adds. Interested in connecting with our students and programs? Visit, call 440.891.7604 or email Always remember, Polaris Means Jobs!

Taylor Gindlesperger, a North Olmsted senior in our Dental Assisting program, is working as a dental assistant at Brecksville Kids Dentistry and was offered a fulltime position after graduation.

In accordance with Title VI of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Polaris Career Center’s policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), national origin, religion, veteran status, disability, ancestry, economic status, military status, or age in its educational programs, activities, services or employment policies. The Board does not discriminate on the basis of legally acquired genetic information. If you are having a problem or have questions or concerns regarding compliance with Title IX or Section 504, contact: Assistant Superintendent, Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator, 440.891.7600.