Breaking traditions: Sikeston student wins honor for choosing road less traveled by males


SIKESTON — Sikeston High School student Caleb Head began helping in the Bulldog Preschool as way to fulfill his service requirements for a scholarship program and he wound up finding the career of his dreams in the process.

The senior was recently awarded the high school male winner of the 2015 Missouri Breaking Traditions contest for the Southeast region, which included a $100-scholarship prize.

“I would have never envisioned myself as a child caregiver,” Head said. “I have always cared for and interacted with my younger family members but never thought it to be career goal for myself.”

But after spending time volunteering in the preschool, which houses the learning environment for both high school students of childhood education courses and the preschool for 3- to 5-year-old children of Sikeston R-6 staff members, Head became interested in enrolling in the program offered through Sikeston Career and Technology Center.

“He was such a natural with the children, we couldn’t understand why he wasn’t already in the (childhood education) program,” recalled childhood education instructor and preschool director Dee Beydler.

Head, who is the 18-year-old son of Joseph and Lisa Head, has also completed two medical church mission trips to Honduras and assisted in his church’s children’s church. He’s also been the assistant church youth leader and preschool teacher at his church.

During the spring semester of his junior year, Head was given the opportunity to join the preschool program class — and he’s glad he did.

“I finally found a purpose and goal in my life that made sense,” Head said.

He also gave much credit to Beydler for making it possible for him to enroll in the preschool program mid-semester.

“If I had not been accepted into this program, I would be lost as to what I wanted to do,” Head said. “Mrs. Dee has helped me in her class by pushing me and never letting me give up. She knows what we are are capable of and that’s what she expects of you.”

It was also Beydler who nominated Head for the Missouri Breaking Traditions award which is sponsored by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Regional College and Career Consultants. The application process included Head answering a student-question form and writing an essay.

For 22 years, Breaking Traditions has honored outstanding students who have chosen nontraditional career and technical education programs based on their interests and abilities and who have not let their gender influence their career decisions.

Nontraditional means occupations or fields of work in which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in that occupation or field. Winners from the state’s nine regions are chosen by a panel of judges.

“This program has given me the skills and abilities to not only teach small children but also nurture the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of children,” Head said. “It has given me the confidence that I can make a positive difference in the life of a young child.”

Head said through the program, he’s learned firsthand how to teach children and not just babysit them.

“The success that I have had academically in the Bulldog Preschool has built my confidence in myself that I can succeed with my plans upon graduating from college,” he said.

Head said the preschool has given him skills of problem-solving, writing and implementing lesson plans and planning lunch menus.

He will soon take an exam for Child Development Associate credential, a nationally recognized certification. Head’s goals after high school and college are to work in the child care industry where he can teach and nurture all aspects of a child’s development.

“All of the things that I have learned about in Bulldog Preschool will help me structure my daycare,” Head said.

The high school senior said people should follow their own course and paths in life to be happy and successful — no matter what others say or do.

“Don’t ever let someone tell you how to live your life when you know what you want do to,” the teen said. “Set your goal and pursue your dreams.”

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