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Ceremony celebrates student success

Brett Hackman, Casey Moncada, Alexis Garcia, Kevin Self and Kyle Petersen.

The HVAC program celebrated several student successes during a recent ceremony highlighted by the presentation of scholarships totaling nearly $40,000 and job offers for four students.

Two former Princeton residents with strong roots in the community have partnered with the Princeton CATE Center and made this all possible. Kevin Self with ACIS and Wyatt Carroll with Anthony Mechanical were on hand to congratulate the four students who will attend Oklahoma State University in the fall. The students will follow up their two years of training and an associate’s degree from OSU with contracted job offers from Mr. Self and Mr. Carroll.

Signing employment contracts during the ceremony include Alexis Garcia and Casey Moncada with PHS and Cory Cook and Colton Woodley with Melissa High.

ACIS and Anthony Mechanical are also providing $9,000 in scholarships to each student, as well as the job offers and internships.

Alexis Garcia and Keith Self.

“We knew when we were going through this process that we had to get into the OSU program,” Alexis said. “There are other programs like this, but OSU offers a degree, so Kevin and Wyatt required us to be accepted there.”

OSU Institute of Technology offers the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration degree. Students enrolled in the ACR program learn and develop the mechanical and electrical skills needed to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair residential and commercial heating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems with a variety of mechanical and electronic platforms. They also become experts with service tools such as pressure gauges, meters, refrigerant recovery units and temperature recorders.

A vital component of the ACR program is the required internship all students must complete. Students will apply their skills and knowledge in a real-world setting, facing challenges alongside technicians in the field.

“We will start our internships with our companies this summer before we leave for Oklahoma,” Casey said. “So it’s nice to already have that lined up. I’m happy for the chance to get started.”

Princeton HVAC instructor Kyle Petersen is himself a product of the CATE program, as well as the OSU training.

“We have learned a lot from (Mr. Petersen), and he’s familiar with our next program,” Alexis said. “We basically have an understanding and know what to expect when we get to OSU.”

“They are lucky to get this opportunity,” Mr. Petersen said. “This was a game-changer for me, and it will give them a head start at life. I thought it was important they get recognized.”

Casey Moncada and Keith Self.

Mr. Petersen, along with Mr. Self and Mr. Carroll, hosted the first-ever signing ceremony and cook-out at the CATE Center’s HVAC shop.

“We came from Princeton, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to give back,” said Mr. Self, whose company will employ Alexis and Casey. “And we know these guys are getting the training they need, so it’s a win-win situation for us to be able to help these guys and eventually have them work for our companies.”

Mr. Carroll, who has contracted with Cory and Colton, agreed.

“This is a good deal, and I couldn’t think of a better place to work with,” he said.

The students all chose the PHS CATE program because of the potential to begin a career.

The students celebrate their CATE accomplishments.

“My uncle used to work in HVAC, so I knew it was a good job and career,” Casey said. “When the teacher came to the high school to recruit for this program, I knew I was interested.”

Alexis was also drawn to the appeal of an HVAC career.

“It really interested me because I like work that is hands-on,” he said. “I didn’t want an office job, and there will always be jobs out there for me. And, OSU will basically be the same stuff we are doing now, but in a different location. We are ready to move on to this next step.”

Brett Hackman, Cory Cook, Colton Woodley, Wyatt Carroll, Kyle Petersen.