Bob Havrilla graduated from Clermont Northeastern High School over 50 years ago. He is, however, at least to some extent responsible for 224 others, all awarded in the past four years.
Havrilla, 71, is the coordinator/instructor of CNE’s Adult 22+ program, which started in January 2018 and helps people aged 22 and over who, for one reason or another, have dropped out of high school. , to return and complete their studies. The Ohio Department of Education has named Havrilla its 2022 Adult Teacher of the Year.
Running the Adult 22-Plus program is a continuation of Havrilla’s nearly 50 years of education – a career that began in 1973 when he was hired as an industrial arts teacher at the Felicity-Franklin School District. , four years after graduating from CNE. He moved to the local schools in Batavia in 1978 and became vice-principal of the middle and high school there in 1990. In 1992 he joined the Great Oaks Joint Vocational School District and held various positions there until 2012 (he briefly retired in 2007). before returning). He was elected to the CNE School Board and served there from 2012 to 2016, then volunteered in the district.
While Havrilla was on the board, he hired Michael Brandt as superintendent. Brandt then turned to Havrilla in 2017, asking her to lead the Adult 22-Plus program.
“He asked me if I would be interested in looking at this program to help people in the community and the region in general get a high school diploma,” Havrilla said. “So we sat down and talked, we talked to the community school coordinator in Dohn, and we agreed it would be a good part-time job helping people.”
The program was usually set up to run three days a week – two morning or mid-day sessions and one night session. “We realized we weren’t serving the customers we needed because a lot of people were working, had family, so we added on Saturday,” Havrilla said.
The students meet Havrilla in the Adults 22+ classroom on the second floor of the Owensville Preschool Building. The room has several rows of tables and leather chairs. Havrilla can teach one student or several at a time. Some prefer online learning – Havrilla meets these demands. He even follows up with a small percentage of students who start the program but drop out for various reasons.
“A lot of times you have people, they have families, especially the ladies, they have younger kids, and they have to take time off to take care of them and then other things,” Havrilla said. “You know, they take a few days or a few weeks off, but… we are still in contact with each other and then they can come in and out as they please. They don’t have to schedule hours. They know my hours. But I call them and kind of, I shouldn’t say harass them but encourage them to come and try to finish things.
James Keirns, a member of the first class of adults 22 and over in June 2018, said Havrilla pushed him to complete his class work and keep a promise Keirns made to his grandmother.
“He was constantly calling me and saying, ‘When are you going to be able to come back, because we would like you to be here,’ and I would come in and study, do the tests,” Keirns said at the 2018 ceremony.
Andrew Herndon, who graduated from CNE in January, said Havrilla helped him through difficult times, including the death of his brother. “I definitely had obstacles that came up while I was in school with Bob, but I fought through it and got through it. Bob worked with me,” Herndon said.
“He is dedicated to his students. He loves what he does and honestly he’s the only one who can do it, from what I’ve seen,” said 2021 graduate David Lee Hughes. “So if he comes here to m help with math, a second later he’s helping someone with history, science, whatever. Just a great guy for this role.
Another 2021 graduate, Victoria Witt, left school in ninth grade. When she heard about the Adult 22+ program, she was “hesitant” until she spoke with Havrilla.
“It took me a while to get into the program because I was scared, but Bob called me and he was always adamant that he could do it. He never doubted me. He said “Yeah, I know you can do it. You’re an amazing person, this and that. So he really pushed and made me feel like ‘I know I can do it’. I shouldn’t be afraid of it. said Witt.
Havrilla said coordinating the program and working with adults has been “fulfilling” but diverts credit to the students and CNE administration.
“As an educator, you know that everyone can learn. It’s just about finding out how they can learn and encouraging them to overcome the difficulties,” he said.
“Without the students, we wouldn’t have this program. And so, I’m proud and privileged to be the instructor here at 22-Plus for CNE, hopefully I can continue in that role. And again, it was kind of a surprise to me that I was nominated and selected. So I mean, it was pretty exciting. Not just for me, but for the school district because without Mr. Brandt and the board, we wouldn’t have this program.
CNE Director TJ Glassmeyer said the district is blessed to have Havrilla leading the program.
“He works tirelessly to ensure that every student (who) enrolls receives the attention and support they need to succeed. Bob dedicates countless hours to ensure the adults in the program are able to achieve their goal of graduating from high school,” Glassmeyer said. “We are thrilled that the Ohio Department of Education has acknowledged what we already knew – that Bob is a terrific educator, cares deeply about his adult students, and will do whatever he can to ensure that ‘they succeed.”
The Adult 22-Plus program is open to all Ohio residents — Havrilla said he’s had students from Washington Court House, West Union and Winchester. For more information about the program, visit www.cneschools.org/page/22-adult-diploma.