Photo by Dante Fontana
Times have changed since Steve Dicus started teaching in 1975.
Economic hardships have hit California education hard, yet Dicus is still determined to help his students succeed. Since 2002, he has worked as a shop teacher at Oakmont High School, incorporating topics such as design, engineering, woodworking and drafting into his lessons. “I’m trying to give them an idea of what to do after they walk the stage and graduate,” Dicus says. “Maybe it’s college, maybe it’s the work force.”
As a result, Dicus is a strong advocate for vocational training in high schools. He wants to provide students with practical skills to give them an edge in the post-secondary job market. Although many vocational programs have been the first to go in the tide of educational budget cuts, Dicus continues to encourage his students to find their passion in life. For the last two years, his students have participated in the national ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) competition, winning “best presentation” in their second year, after taking first place out of 18 schools the previous year. Why does he do it? “I’m just trying to make a positive difference in somebody’s life,” Dicus explains. “That’s what teachers do.”
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