Keith Wiseman, 1978 Vantage Auto Body and Van Wert High School graduate was inducted into the Vantage Hall of Fame Thursday evening. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Keith Wiseman, 1978 Vantage Auto Body and Van Wert High School graduate was inducted into the Vantage Hall of Fame Thursday evening. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
VAN WERT – Vantage Career Center hosted its 40th annual All Boards Dinner Thursday evening, this year including the Alumni Hall of Fame Induction. Keith Wiseman and the late Kent Taylor were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

“The purpose of the Alumni Hall of Fame is to recognize Vantage alumni who have, through performance and achievement, brought credit and honor to themselves and to Vantage Career Center after their graduation,” said Tony Unverferth, Vantage’s High School Director. “Their exemplary public, personal and career achievements will serve to inspire and provide leadership to future Vantage alumni to achieve and serve in the same distinguished manner.”

To be considered for induction, alumni must meet a set of criteria. They must be a high school graduate and a Vantage alumni. They must wait a 10-year period between graduation and being considered for the Hall of Fame.

“Honorees represent a broad range of talents, achievements and community service,” said Unverferth. “Nominees are considered based on professional careers.”

Wiseman was a Vantage and Van Wert High School graduate of 1978. Wiseman participated in the auto body program and is the current owner of Superior Collision.

“As I remember him he was a very hard working and talented student from the very beginning,” reminisced Bob Brinkman, former Vantage High School Director. “He would be one of the first students in the shop. He wasted no time getting there, getting into his work clothes and tackling tasks.”

“You could say that Keith was a model vocational student,” added Brinkman. “He took complete advantage of his job skill training while here at Vantage. As a result he is a very successful businessman and deserves to be honored with this induction into the Vantage Hall of Fame.”

Wiseman was also a member of the National Honor Society while at Van Wert High School.

“Vantage is responsible for giving me the possibility for giving me a foundation to build my career on,” said Wiseman. “I believe in education, I believe in Vantage, I believe in vocational education.”

Vantage posthumously inducted Taylor into the Vantage Hall of Fame.

Taylor was a Vantage and Crestview High School graduate of 1979. Taylor participated in the electricity program and just five years after graduation, he was hired as Vantage’s electricity teacher in 1984, where he remained for 30 years until his retirement in 2014.

“Kent was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather,” said Taylor’s wife, Diana. “He is deeply missed by his family. I know his students were important to him. His students would continue to call Kent for questions and support. He was always there for them.”

Unverferth read a quote from Taylor from 2014 prior to his retirement that stated, “Vantage is a wonderful place to work for over 30 years and as a former student it taught me a trade that has given me the knowledge to be successful now and in the future.”

“I have to admit that as I stand here this is a very bitter-sweet moment,” said Brinkman. “As Tony mentioned, God called Kent to be with him this past November. He was truly a very special person and a teacher to many Vantage students he met in his lifetime.”

“Kent, too, was a model vocational student,” added Brinkman. “By that I mean he was inquisitive, he wanted to know how things worked, he was always very focused. He was thoughtful.”

Brinkman explained that Vantage was searching for an electricity teacher in 1984 and stated that they wanted Taylor to fill the position. He noted that Taylor was one of the youngest teachers to be certified at a vocational school in Ohio. To be certified, the candidate must have seven years of experience in the trade they are in and even though Taylor had only been out of school for five years, the state credited his two years at Vantage as qualification to give him the seven years needed.

“Mr. Kent Taylor was an inspiration to many of us,” said Brinkman. “But he was a great inspiration to all of his students. Mr. Kent Taylor is very deserving to be inducted in to the Vantage Hall of Fame.”

Taylor’s daughter, Sarah Perrott, accepted his award in his honor and spoke about what the award would have meant to Taylor as well as what Vantage meant to him.

“Vantage has always been a huge part of my dad’s life, I mean since I was born that’s all I knew and of course since I was born he was always trying to get me to come to Vantage,” said Perrott. “You guys have all made a huge impact on my dad’s life, just as my dad did to many students and many other colleagues and many other kids. I can’t even begin to explain what it means that my dad’s going to be remembered forever here at Vantage. Thank you is all I can say.”

2016 Hall of Fame inductee, Rick Turner who was recently hired as Vantage Career Center’s superintendent stated that both inductees are inspirations to youth and others. He stated that he was grateful that Vantage honors their students from the past.

“It was a highlight when I was inducted into the Hall of Fame and I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate what Vantage does for students and even 40 years later they are reaching out and honoring students and graduates,” said Turner.