Planning a restaurant menu or repairing broken computers is not something most high school students learn in class. However, at Carson High School these and other skills including welding, automotive body repair, map creation and other hands-on learning techniques are part of the daily curriculum.
Carson City is among the few high schools in the country to offer these programs and Charles Ruppman, of Peoria, Ill., wants schools nationwide to follow its lead.
"I believe in the notion that the student is the customer," Ruppman said. "It is the responsibility of of the school to give that customer the very best ability to succeed."
He believes so strongly in Carson High School that he donated $20,000 Wednesday to the school's video production class to purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will allow students to produce a video show casting the various programs offered at the school.
"We'll use the video to describe what's happening at Carson High School, which we feel is an example of what schools should be providing," Ruppman said. "It's going to be very difficult to keep bringing people to Carson City. We need a vehicle to bring Carson City to the people."
Ruppman, the chairman of a customer relationship company, heard about Carson's programs through his sister, Cheryl Euse, a language and speech pathologist at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School.
It was over dinner that Ruppman told Euse that, as an entry-level employer, he would like to see students leave high school better equipped to enter the business world.
Once Euse told him of the school's attempt to do just that, Ruppman decided to get involved.
"I was extremely excited to hear about his donation," Euse said. "I know the high school will put it to great use."
She said the money will serve a double function.
"The kids here will be able to produce the video and learn from that experience," she said. "Schools across the United States will be able to duplicate what they see. Education is about making a difference and that's exactly what's happening here."
Brian Reedy, the video production teacher at the high school, said students in the class will make the video in addition to the live broadcast they coordinate every other day and will take two to three months to complete the task.
"We're looking to cover all the exemplary teaching programs going on here," he said. "We're going to show how regular teachers in regular classrooms are doing great things to motivate students."
Danielle Costella,17, been motivated through the video production class.
"This class has opened my eyes so much," she said. "In fact, I'm thinking about changing what I want to go into like advertising or directing, working with cameras and computers."
Krista Catero, 16, is looking forward to making the video.
"We will get to learn new things," Catero said. "If it weren't for this class, I wouldn't know any of the things that we're doing."
Reedy credits the school's success to the leadership of Principal Glen Adair.
"We color outside of the boxes. We stretch the parameters of education," Reedy said. "Glen starts with a vision. He finds someone to lead it, then lets go."
Adair said it's a simple equation of finding what works then doing it.
"If you always do what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten," he said. "If you want to change what you're getting, you have to do things differently."