“The day I decided to go to the JVS was the day that changed my life,” said Lorain County JVS student Jullion Fenderson in a recruitment video posted by the school.
Earlier this month, the vocational school released a six-and-a-half-minute video highlighting what makes the JVS great — and aiming to increase enrollment.
Teens studying trades from culinary, pediatric nurse practitioner, flight paramedic, diesel mechanic, and physical therapist participated in the video explaining why they chose the JVS.
Fenderson said he wasn’t getting anywhere in his local school district and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life. He is now enrolled in the JVS Web and graphic design track.
Blake Schwartz is in the computerized design and drafting program. He said at his previous high school he never was the kid getting A’s but he does at the JVS.
“Everyone thought it was a last chance,” he said, “it’s where ‘the bad kids’ go, but I can say there are some top-notch students here. The one thing I want to say about the JVS is it breeds success.”
Nykala Hawthorn studies public safety said she never thought she was going to attend the JVS.
“This school is not easy,” said Lawrence Freeman-Elom, who’s in the masonry trades program. “People say it’s easy but it’s not. It takes dedication and hard work to succeed.”
Tina Salyer, JVS marketing and communication coordinator, said the school’s last recruitment video was six years old and the new video will be used to convince prospective students the JVS is the right fit.
The vocational school decided to tackle the segment much differently than past videos.
Salyer said administrators reached out to student groups to get their input on what they thought should be highlighted because they see the school differently than adults do. “That is why we thought that process was very, very important,” she said.
The students said they didn’t want to hear what’s available but want to hear they’re going to be safe, make new friends, that they can be athletes, and that they won’t lose their old friends, Salyer said.
“We made a conscious decision we were going to hit those topics head on,” she said.
The recruitment video features students from a wide variety of programs at the JVS. “We took great care in selecting students in talking about those issues,” Salyer said. “We didn’t pick the top students in every academy. We tried to represent each academy.”
She decided to post it on YouTube for administrators to review but Salyer did not expect to find it had more than 500 views the next morning. “It absolutely went viral,” she said.
There will be an extended version created with teachers and administrators in it to replace the one on the school’s website.
Salyer expects that video to be about 10 minutes long.
“We could not be happier,” she said. Salyer said the staff was scared to death in making the video because it was so much different than their past videos. “There was no script,” Salyer said. “It was a huge leap of faith and it paid off.”
The video will be showcased at a JVS open house from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.