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CONTACT:  PAUL PHELPS, pphelps@tctc.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                           8/6/2018

                                                                             (By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- The very day that he received his GED, Dustin David headed to Tri-County Technical College to enroll in welding courses.

“Every day since I was 21 years old, I said to myself, ‘I wish I had graduated from high school and gone to college.’  Then I wouldn’t have to play catch up,” said David, now 31.

He made up for lost time this past year by taking full-time evening classes while maintaining a 40-hour a week paid co-op position at Duke Energy through its Power Careers Program.  Duke Energy offers high school graduates and first-year community college students the opportunity to gain experience in power plant operations.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said David, who for the past year, has been working at Duke Energy’s Lee Steam plant in Belton during the day and he has been taking evening welding classes at Tri-County’s Industrial Technology Center in Sandy Springs.  He credits Welding Department Head Paul Phelps and other welding instructors with helping him to succeed.

“Dustin has been what we expect of an adult learner and have seen over the years -- dedicated, focused, hardworking, high expectations and critical of his work,” said Phelps.  “Dustin has been an example to those around him, always with a smile and an encouraging word for others.  Even when tired after a full day’s work, he would be here ready and prepared for class.  Dustin has a bright future and I look forward to seeing all that he will accomplish moving forward in his career.”

 “Saturday (August 4) David walked across the Brooks Center stage at Tri-County’s summer graduation ceremony and received his welding degree, with honors – he maintained a 3.95 GPA.

 His family -- fiancé, Jessica, and their three children -- were in the audience to celebrate with him.  “This is a big deal.  I wanted my children to see this - how important this is,” he said. 

David says he dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade.  “I was young and stupid and made bad decisions.  I wish I had known years ago to stay focused and motivated.”

He worked jobs in construction through the last decade, jobs that paid the bills and as a result, reinforced delaying college. 

But after meeting Jessica and starting his own family, he began to set goals, a college degree being one of them. 

Juggling family, work and a demanding school schedule was tough, he said. “I missed out on the kids’ lives. But if they see what I’ve accomplished, they will take it through life. Kids watch, learn and listen to us.  What I saw in me wasn’t a good example for them.  I took the wrong path. I paid for it with the consequences. But I strive to be the best father, husband and employee I can be.  That’s what this degree is about.  It will allow me to provide for my family.” 

In the future, David says he plans to pursue Tri-County’s Manufacturing Management and Leadership degree online.