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‘Educating’ myself on the area’s important institutions

It’s time for a potpourri column sharing a little bit of everything I’ve been able to see in the area over the past couple of weeks. I continue to be impressed by the variety of things Tiffin has going for it.

• A highlight for me was my recent tour of National Machinery, whose name belies the fact it truly is as a worldwide company. Here in Tiffin, at the National “international” headquarters, the building is definitely impressive from the outside. Once on the inside, however, you realize it is both modern and massive, with a pair of neat showrooms and a large manufacturing area that was buzzing with activity the day I was showed around. I loved learning about National’s history, as I am fascinated with how a business can stay so viable for 145-plus years through keeping with the times. Tiffin and National go hand-in-hand, and it’s fun to think that some part on most cars that are on the road likely was made from a National machine.

Not only that, but I’ve been impressed with owner Andrew Kalnow’s local philanthropy and care for our community, but I saw how National is dedicated to its employees with a very neat breakroom and photos on the walls of years and years worth of long-standing National employees.

• Another fun thing I did was sit in on my second Third Thursday trivia competition. My first foray into trivia here was as a guest judge, but on this occasion at Reino’s Party Room, I was a player, joining a “local media” team of Dale DePew from Seneca News Daily, Rudi Feasel from WTTF and Joanna Lininger, the A-T’s very own managing editor. I continue to be impressed with the Third Thursday event, as the Taste of Downtown Tiffin was a smashing success. Mark your calendars now — there is lots of fun downtown every third Thursday.

• In my prior life, I coached soccer and helped start a travel team for my oldest daughter, who along with her friends showed interest in the sport at a young age. Therefore, I have a 9-year-old soccer nut who watched with excitement the run of the U.S. Women’s National Team to a World Cup championship. While she now plays on a team in the area, we had an off night on a Wednesday, so I took her down to Heidelberg University, where we caught a womens’ soccer game. Heidelberg won 7-1 and we spent halftime bounding around campus, so it was a win-win father-daughter date. I love having two universities nearby and all the events that come with them so close to us.

• Speaking of higher education, I was able to take a tour of Terra State College with president Dr. Ron Schumacher, and it was neat to see about all of the exciting things going on at the college in Fremont. What Terra is doing with robotics is very neat and on-point for current manufacturing trends, and the addition of an athletic program (volleyball and mens and womens basketball), as well as the building of a beautiful new residence hall gives a true college vibe and one that is of freshness. In fact, Terra is just one of two community colleges in Ohio to have on-campus residence halls (and they are much nicer than the one I lived in during college!)

Schumacher has made great strides in turning around the budget and enrollment, and he is dedicated to meeting local school and community leaders. Terra continues to fill an important role in the local higher education landscape. As I told Schumacher, it is very neat to have three colleges so close to Tiffin.

• I continue to be impressed with local primary education also as in recent weeks I sat in on a meeting at Columbian High School with Tiffin City Schools’ business advisory committee that I am a part of. During the meeting, we toured the neat MakerSpace/Pre-Construction Trades lab classroom as part of a partnership between Tiffin schools and Sentinel. Also there, we toured the Pay it Forward center, a project featuring clothing and items donated by the community that will provide career readiness opportunities for TCS students in the form of organizing and running the store.

The education field is really adjusting well to needs and trends in employement, and it’s so encouraging to see Tiffin City Schools offer many different tracks for students with the end goal of giving all students a path to success once they turn the tassel. It ain’t just reading, writing and arithmetic any more.

I also got the chance to look at Calvert Catholic Elementary, and was impressed of how well Calvert uses the spaces that it has. All schools are now emphasizing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) education, and Calvert is no exception. I saw many, many smiling faces and creative learning happening all across the building. I was taken back by the long history of Calvert, and the St. Joseph campus in general. Catholic education and the Catholic church are institutions in the Tiffin area, and it’s neat to see both a great public school system and great private school system.

Jeremy Speer is publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.

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