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Keys’ Zachary Stone – ICTC Athlete of the Month

Keys High School junior Zachary Stone just finished his first year in the two-year HVAC program at Indian Capital Technology Center in Tahlequah. And like the curve ball he says is his best pitch on the Cougars baseball team, this year has had its academic curve balls as well.

“Probably the biggest challenges for me this year have been getting a grasp of the concepts of the formulas and numbers you have to memorize in order to be a good troubleshooter. I’m more of a hands-on learner and so doing the class work part of it has been a challenge. It has also been challenging at those times during the year when we had to do distance learning because of Covid protocols,” said Stone.

The HVAC instructor at ICTC is Joel Sherrill, now in his eighth year, and he outlined the program.

“This is a two-year program. We start off with a lot of in-class time learning basic electrical concepts and then move to controllers and motors. We focus on residential heating and air conditioning with a slight emphasis on light commercial refrigeration,” said Sherrill. “By taking this course, the youngsters get two of the three required years that it takes to go from apprentice to journeyman. They also become eligible to do on-the-job training where they actually make some money the last quarter of the second year as long as they complete their year competency exams and are approved by the instructor. 

“Zach has learned his electrical skills and is working on troubleshooting. He is also involved in our Skills USA program and will be an officer in that group next year where he’ll represent our district. I think Zack is progressing well and I see him either going to a college setting or right into the business when he graduates,” said Sherrill.

Stone says he first got interested in the program when he lived in El Reno.

“A man there said he would give me a job if I took a course like that. And when we moved here and I saw the ICTC presentation it just sounded like something I’d like to do because everyone will have need of an HVAC technician at some point. We all want to stay cool, right?”

Zach has been very pleased with his experience at ICTC this year as he discussed his goal for next year.

“I’ve really enjoyed the environment here. The second-year guys have been really good about lending advice or a helping hand when we need it. My goal for next year is to pass all my competency tests the first time around. I plan to make HVAC a career and am thinking about going to OSU-IT after high school to further my education and knowledge of the business.”

As Sherrill notes the HVAC course through ICTC is something that stay with you no matter what field you go into.

“Once you learn a trade like this it’s something that can’t be taken away from you and it’s a job that will always be in demand. It’s a valuable skill to have.”

It’s another winning example of ICTC creating opportunities for life.

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