Ignite Academy director Chris Clark speaks to Lions Club

by By Jim Snyder

The Berea Lions Club welcomed Chris Clark, Director, Ignite Career Technical Centers, North and South Madison County, as the bi-monthly speaker at the Dinner Bell Restaurant, Berea, October 24. Clark has worked with Madison County Schools 12 years, after working 20 years in the construction industry. “I first came to teaching through coaching.” The Ignite schools are essentially, vocational schools embedded in North & South Madison high schools, offering a variety of technical programs, typically offered to high school juniors.

Some of the Ignite specialties include, welding, diesel, engineering, culinary, business and marketing, health science, residential electricity, carpentry, automotive, machine tool, Cad in architecture, health science, for a sum total of about twenty programs. In addition, there are four health science teachers on staff. Students who graduate in health science, have the opportunity to get adult nurse aid certification, free to students who complete program before graduation.

He noted the bias by some towards vocational education, “Well, if you can’t do this - so just go do that [vocational school]...It really infuriates me because I was one of those people for the first 20 years of my life...I want these kids - and we want those kids, in Madison County to be encouraged, to be proud of their passion and their desires...you want to be a welder, be proud of that...If you want to be a industrial maintenance technician - and that’s not a custodian - industrial electrician, hydraulics, pneumatics, PLC’s, robots - right now in this community there’s over 20 open positions for industrial maintenance that’s been open for more than 6 months... and they start at $70-85,000!”

Chris shares with students this basic philosophy for success: “There’s four things in life you need to do to be successful - none of them are how well you read, or how well you do math...Number one: Show up on time; Number two: Work hard once you get there; Number three: Be a person of honesty and integrity; Number four: Get along with people.”


Interested in community service and helping people? Come visit the Berea Lions Club on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 6 p.m. at the Dinner Bell Restaurant.