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MTEC completers on their instructors: ‘They respect you’

The little boy wearing the oversized T-shirt didn’t realize it, but the writing on the back of his garment also made a pretty good credo for the proceedings Wednesday evening at the Hazel and J.W. Ruby Community Center. 

 “Don’t be anyone else — but yourself,” came the proclamation in 100% cotton. 

 The 200 people wearing caps and gowns at the gathering space in the Mylan Park expanse would have surely agreed. 

 That’s how many turned out to pick up their certificates of completion from the Monongalia County Technical Education Center on the mellow night. 


 Graphic artists. 



 And more — all deciding to take a different route other than another four years, or more, of college classrooms. 

 Being themselves, academically and professionally, as it were. 

 Principal Greg Dausch, who has four daughters at home, was sounding every bit a proud parent, as he referred to the completers as “our MTEC family,” while readying for the start of the ceremonies. 

 “They’re a great bunch of students,” he said. 

 “We always have a great bunch of students. They’re always motivated and they work hard. There’s a reason why we have a 98% attendance rate.” 

 Work, in fact, is in the very air at MTEC. 

 Its students, as said, learn the particulars of everything from wielding a plasma welder to baking a cherry pie. 

 Tech center completers leave with firm grasps of computing coding and carpentry, while  

going on to become pharmacy techs, surgical techs and entrepreneurs. 

 “I loved my time here,” said Rickey Tephabock-Westfall, who completed the ProStart Restaurant Management Program and wants to be a chef heading up his own dining establishment someday.  

Add some culinary altruism to the recipe, too, he said. 

 “I don’t want to see anyone go hungry.” 

 Gabrielle Chico, meanwhile, is hungry in her career goal of becoming a flight nurse — and part of that trajectory is coming by way of MTEC, where she became certified as an emergency medical technician. 

 She’ll begin her nursing studies at Waynesburg University this fall. 

 “The thing I loved most about MTEC,” she said, “is that the teachers don’t treat you like you’re a student. They treat you like an employee. They respect you.”