PAINTSVILLE – It feels as if Jonathan Bogar and Dart Phillips have come full circle.
The first cousins graduated high school together at Belfry in 1997 and attended Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), where they completed a diploma in combined welding the following year.
They came home to Big Sandy on Friday, February 24.
Bogar, a welding instructor at Belfry Area Technology Center, and Phillips, an industrial maintenance instructor at Millard Area Technology Center, brought students to compete in the 2017 SkillsUSA Northeast District 11 competition on the Mayo campus of BSCTC.
“I remember competing in VICA, which was the SkillsUSA of our time. I edged out [Dart] in high school, but he got me back in college,” said Bogar, chuckling.
Bogar has spent 14 years as an instructor at Belfry. Twenty-one students from Belfry competed in SkillsUSA, including six from Bogar’s program.
“SKillsUSA is a great asset for our center and our students,” he explained. “It provides a platform for students to compete, it boosts the self-confidence of our students and the connections SkillsUSA has with business and industry demonstrates the need and success of those who pursue skilled trade careers.”
Phillips, who started working at the Millard Area Technology Center in September, said it was exciting to return home to Big Sandy.
“This place means the world to me,” he said. “The education I received here opened so many doors throughout my career. I am very grateful to bring my students here to compete and learn more about the programming at the college.”
Bogar said organizations like SkillsUSA are shining a light on the need for high school students to be career ready once they graduate.
“There’s a huge need for skilled labor across America, and SkillsUSA is leading the movement to promote career and technical education,” he continued. “I’m proud to be promoting skilled trades and the rewarding careers tied with them to my students.”
Bogar said it started at BSCTC for him more than 15 years ago.
“This college does so much to promote career and technical education,” said Bogar. “It has opened so many doors for so many people over the years, and it is always nice to return to campus and share the great memories I had here with my students.”
BSCTC offers 30 programs and more than 200 credentials. For more information, visit bigsandy.kctcs.edu.