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Signing day: Future PCC students make career choices

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Pitt Community College's "Signing Day" event on Feb. 16, 2017. (Joe Pellegrino/The Daily Reflector)


Sharieka Botex
The Daily Reflector

Friday, February 17, 2017

WINTERVILLE — After Cynthia Garcia Lopez signed her letter of intent Thursday for the horticulture technology program at Pitt Community College, she proudly flipped her blue Bulldogs hat backward and smiled.

As the lone student on the stage signing up for the horticulture program, Garcia, a senior at Ayden-Grifton High School, stood out during the National Career and Technical Education Letter of Intention Signing Day. 

Families, educators and representatives from businesses packed the J. Paul and Diana S. Davenport multipurpose room in the Craig F. Goess Student Center at Pitt Community College to watch students take the next steps in pursuing degrees in engineering, automotive, HVAC, electrical, welding, manufacturing and industrial fields.

The PCC Construction and Industrial Technology Division organized the event, which is sponsored by the National Coalition of Certification Centers. 

Alan Frazier, recruiting coordinator at PCC, gave a “Welcome to Bulldog Country” greeting after some of the signees put on their hats.

Frazier said 59 students attended Thursday, a number hampered by a rash of sickness and flu that has hit the county recently.

“This is your day,” Frazier said.

He told students their decisions would give them something to do for the rest of their lives as long as they were willing to work. 

“This is the best letter of intent you will ever sign because what we are going to do today with the letter of intent is you’re taking a step forward to be able to learn a trade, something nobody in this room can take away from you, you will learn a skill here at Pitt Community College, that no one can take away from you,” he said.

While Lopez was on the stage, Frazier said he was going to pick on the student he met at Ayden-Grifton.

“She is a fine person, not just student, but she is a fine person,” Frazier said. “You meet a lot of these guys, seeing you here today means a lot, too. When I see someone like this that I’ve been talking to for a couple of years and they made the decision, it’s really inspiring, and this one right here has been a little special to me.” 

Even with the popular field of welding as one of Lopez’ options, Garcia said she chose horticulture because she is good with plants and animals. 

“When I was little, I always wanted to be a veterinarian, but horticulture is kind of the same,” she said.

Garcia said one of her teachers who worked in horticulture also inspired her to apply.

Welding technology and automotive systems technology were popular among students who signed their letters of intent during the national live-stream event. Although the majority of the signees were young men, several young women signed up for the welding and automotive programs.

Owen Games, a D.H. Conley High School senior, was among the 22 students who committed to the welding program. Tyree Godley, another senior at Conley, said his passion for cars led him to the automotive program.

“I thought it was a very good opportunity to give people going into an actual career a good beginning to it,” said Games, who already is taking classes in his chosen field. “I was looking around and knew a guy who did some welding positions. He told me about what it has to offer and what kind of money you could be making. At first I went for the money but then I starting going to the classes ... and saw it was something I really loved.” 

Games said he felt proud to be a part of a tradition usually set aside for athletes.

“This really makes you feel good about what you’re doing as well,” he said. “You’re proud to say I’m doing this, and this is what I want to fulfill in my life.” 

Contact Sharieka Botex at 252-329-9567 and sbotex@reflector.com. Follow her on Twitter @ShariekaB.