KTC celebrates first graduation ceremonies

May 17—Cheers erupted as students walked the stage during the first graduation ceremonies at Kiamichi Technology Center.

More than 100 graduates participated Thursday at the KTC McAlester Campus in the system's first commencement ceremonies as friends and family whooped for their students.

"All Kiamichi Tech students leave our campus with the skills and knowledge necessary to be a highly skilled member of our global workforce," Wilson told the first of 156 graduates Thursday. "As you move forward in your lives and careers, we urge you to continue striving for excellence and never stop learning."

"Your hard work, determination, and dedication have brought you to this momentous occasion, and I want you to know that we are all incredibly proud of you," KTC Superintendent Shelley Free said in a press release. "You have demonstrated the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your chosen career fields, and we have no doubt that you will make a positive impact in your communities and beyond," shared Free in her congratulatory remarks."

KTC offers full-time career training programs, short-term courses and customized training for businesses.

A stakeholders report states KTC's enrollment is 27,997, including 26,061 part-time and 1,936 full-time students.

Graduates average a starting wage of $19.22 per hour in their first year and 93.71% of students are employed, continuing their education, or joined the military, the report states.

Wilson said the campus and the KTC system provide students with opportunities and prepare them for the workforce.

"The main thing is providing the workforce, and not just the workforce in general," Wilson said, adding students have won national awards in computer networking and more.

The KTC system formed in 1968 and originally included four sites before it expanded with six additional sites. It now encompasses 11,200 square miles, serving all or parts of 13 counties.

The McAlester campus serves students from Calvin, Canadian, Crowder, Eufaula, Haileyville, Hartshorne, Indianola, Kiowa, Lakewood Christian School, McAlester, Pittsburg, Quinton, Savanna, Stuart, Wilburton, Frink Chambers, Haywood, Krebs, Stidham, and Tannehill.

Programs celebrating graduation included automotive service technology, computer information technology, EAST program, electrical technology, HVAC technology, teacher prep and early care education, welding technology, biomedical sciences, CNC technology, criminal justice, construction technology, and health careers education.

KTC is part of the Oklahoma CareerTech system, which offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts and operates on 59 campuses across the state.

Wilson said KTC is proud of its graduates and wanted to recognize them with official ceremonies.

"This is the first time we've done a graduation and to be able to honor our school graduated along with the adults — this is a big moment," Wilson said. "We're honored to be able to recognize them."