The Fred Eberle Technical Center (FETC) celebrated graduation ceremonies on May 21, 2019. The evening celebration was held at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School Auditorium, overflowing the facility capacity. Families and neighbors enthusiastically gathered from Barbour, Lewis, and Upshur Counties, rightfully proud of the graduates’ success in choosing studies that probably will result in more than 90% gaining immediate employment. Some students will continue their education, gaining additional skills.
As a member of the Administrative Council for FETC, my lesson learned is that our teachers and staff, directed by Principal Rebecca Bowers-Call, have for another school year quietly and efficiently served our West Virginia public education system extremely well. The words of Jesus come to mind: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38, NIV) The lesson is not lost on Dr. Luke, a physician, who recorded this wisdom in the same lesson in which the Doctor noted what Jesus said about respecting our teachers: “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” (Luke 6:40, NIV)
During the graduation I reflected on my own reliance on my dependable automotive professional, Steve Thacker. Meeting a good mechanic was on my to-do list when I returned to Buckhannon. How I hope for a long and fruitful career for our young but highly skilled graduating automotive mechanics! How germane that in medical school at West Virginia University in 1970, Dean Clark Sleeth, MD, advised us to form a strong bond with the best automotive mechanic we could find wherever we chose to practice medicine in the Mountain State. The Dean knew we needed dependable wheels to get to the hospital for emergencies. Let me say, Steve has been fantastic. May our new graduates give such good service in full measure.
Then I continued to reflect on our new crop of carpenters. My, how I chuckled when I remembered Jesus was a skilled carpenter thanks to Joseph, his earthly father. Likewise, my earliest best friend, Danny, had a carpenter dad. How we kids admired him, especially when he helped us make a boat that could float down the Buckhannon River. May our carpentry graduates measure twice and cut once. May they serve our community like Dan Daniel did when he served as Clerk of the Works for Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, not to mention his devotion to helping build the beautiful West Virginia Wesleyan College campus.
Our FETC graduates about 30 nurses each year. As a Doctor of Medicine, how I esteem nurses! My sister Beth is a licensed practical nurse, graduating from our Technical Center. Nurses are angels filled with compassion. And nurses are stronger than Marvel characters, working wonders in hospitals, schools and clinics.
As we ended a ceremony filled with claps and cheers and fun, all the graduates offered up a wonderful pledge—surely a lesson learned: “Upon my honor, I pledge: To prepare myself by diligent study and ardent practice to become a worker whose services will be recognized as honorable by my employer and fellow workers. To base my expectations of reward upon the solid foundation of service. To honor and respect my vocation in such a way as to bring repute to myself. And further, to spare no effort in upholding the ideals of Skills USA"