Casey Rowland- SWTC Service Careers instructor, Larry “Corky” Goucher- Assessment Specialist/ Carl Albert State College, and Tellie Darden-SWTC Practical Nursing Graduate all received awards at the “Making it Work” day at the capital. The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma Career and Technical Educators Equity Council and was held on March 24 at the Oklahoma State Capitol Blue Room.
Rowland received the award for Outstanding Instructor for Non-traditional students. He has instructed Service Careers Technology at Southwest Technology Center for approximately 10 years. Students in this class learn skills related to service oriented industries with hands-on experience provided in a variety of job skill areas such as hotel and facilities grounds keeping, housekeeping, culinary technology, environmental technologies and welding.
Rowland is a valued asset to SWTC and the POWER Program. He works with students who often have additional challenges within their learning process such as trouble reading and comprehending. Though times may get difficult, he is their encourager, mentor and motivator. Rowland never sees a person as unable or incapable of training. He uses the “Non-traditional career” frontier as a platform to jump-start students into believing in themselves and what they are capable of doing.
In addition to developing employable skills in students with few or many challenges, he also provides invaluable assistance with job placement. Rowland has assisted POWER students with job placement at Altus Air Force Base, Bar S Foods, and many other well-known entities. His teaching has no limits or restrictions. He teaches women how to weld, do lawn care, and repair small engines. He teaches men laundry service, hospitality house-keeping, and food service. Male and female students alike respect Rowland and the skills he teaches. They understand soon after entering his classroom, there are no boundaries or barriers that cannot be overcome when you give it you all.
Goucher received the award for Outstanding Community/Agency Partner. Giving assessment tests could be just another routine part of any special project criteria. But Larry Goucher, better known as Corky, certainly takes out the mundane when it comes to test days. Goucher, employed with Carl Albert State College, has been the Assessment Specialist for the POWER program for 10 years. He provides TABE testing and CAPS, COPS, COPES Profile for students in five counties; Jackson, Greer, Harmon, Kiowa, and Tillman. Goucher makes a true effort to engage with students and tries to make a connection with them during the short time he has with them. By engaging in conversation with the students, he always makes every student feel like they did a great job on their testing regardless of where their abilities or deficiencies lye. He is an encourager and a motivator. While reviewing scores and personality inventories, Goucher will congratulate students on the level at which they performed. He is always a good listener and supporter of ideas. Students who have tested with him before often meet him in the hall after their enrollment. They are always excited to see him again and feel compelled to share with him their achievements.
Darden received the award for Outstanding Student/Graduate. Darden, a single-mom of 4 children, came to POWER timid, with little self-confidence, and not real sure why she signed up for the program. She really needed the financial help that comes from a program like POWER. Soon she began to look at what the future held for her and her children; she realized it was not good. She enrolled in and completed CNA class thinking that would be sufficient, it would get her a reliable job. While she was taking the CNA class, she experienced a transformation, a change in how she thought about herself and a renewal of a goal she once had – being a nurse. Once again she started to see herself as a woman who had lots of ability and potential.
To be a nurse had always been destiny. Her mother and grandmother were both nurses. Grandmother helped raise her; mother mentored her. Darden’s mother was also single mom. As a child she often went to work with her mom, taking in every detail of a nurse’s life. When her mother died in 2007 of cancer, the dream of being a nurse all but slipped away with her. The sadness and defeat of losing her mother was devastating. It was especially hard since her grandmother had also passed away not long before. Being a nurse seemed to have lost its meaning after they were gone.
Thankfully, with help Darden come out of her defeat and sadness. She jumped in with both feet and rediscovered her passion. Before the four week CNA class was over, she was determined to apply for the LPN program. She was accepted and completed the 2010-11 LPN class. Her passion for nursing resurfaced and is better than ever.