By Amy Grace Drinkwater
Dr. L. Joy Gates Black swore in new members of the National Technical Honor Society during the Induction Ceremony Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Large Auditorium on Marple campus.
With more than 100 people in attendance, the Society’s new president, Donavon Fountain, and NTHS members recited the pledge and took part in a candle lighting ceremony. Food and refreshments followed the event.
Kate Denney, who is studying to be a paramedic, explained her appreciation for her professors and “camaraderie among classmates.”
“It’s nice to get recognized for hard work and academics,” Denney said. “It was a warm and fuzzy feeling.”
Fountain, a health care management major, said he joined the society to reach his “full potential.”
“If you know my back story, you would not imagine someone like me in the National Honor Society,” Fountain said, adding the society has many benefits and it feels like a family.
Najah Stratford, NTHS secretary and automotive technology certificate student, encourages students with a high GPA to join because it has been helpful for her, adding, “students can’t lose by being involved.”
“The teachers honestly care about us,” said NTHS member Christian Jackson, who is studying to be a paramedic. Jackson explained how NTHS co-advisor Elaine Remington texted her earlier in the day to make sure she’d be at the ceremony.
“DCCC gives you the advantage to excel, where other colleges you are kind of on your own,” Jackson said.
The NTHS has been in existence since 1984. To qualify for the Society, a student must maintain a 3.0 GPA and take a minimum of nine credits. There’s also a fee of $35.
There are 63 different majors in the technical program, which qualify for NTHS. Some of the majors, such as respiratory therapy, accounting, plumbing, and welding, prepare students for immediate employment. Students may pursue an associate’s degree or certificate depending on the program.
According to Elaine Remington, co-advisor of the Society and director for Emergency Services Education and the Institute for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness at DCCC, DCCC’s NTHS chapter started in 2017 and has 321 students.
Remington believes there are numerous benefits to being a part of NTHS including scholarship opportunities. Members also receive a portfolio, ID card, a certificate and letters of recommendation.
NTHS also helps members get ahead of the competition in their respective industry, according to their website. Being an active member of this society connects students globally and positions them for leadership roles in desired businesses and communities.
In addition, the society assists colleges and universities in building partnerships, providing scholarships, fostering community involvement and encouraging students and families in the trades.
One of the member’s roles in the society is to participate in service projects. At a recent meeting, the Society discussed a grant to address the opioid crisis through education, treatment and recovery programs. The goal is for Society members to come together, educate people on the addiction crisis, and put together Narcan kits.
Unlike past years, the Society consists of an even number of males and females today.
“In emergency services we’re not seeing the barriers we used to see, where it used to be predominately men,” Remington said. “When I got into it, it was all men and same with the trades. If you go down to the tech building [now], you’re going to see a lot more females floating around because the barriers aren’t there. And it’s not that women are trying to break the barriers. They’re just clearly trying to do what they want to do and what they are capable of doing.”
Remington started volunteering at a hospital at the age of 16. During this time, one of the patients at the hospital, who was a firefighter, encouraged her to become a firefighter.
“I became the first female firefighter in Pennsylvania in 1974,” Remington said. “I just fell in love with it.”
Remington joined Yeadon Fire Company and later became an Emergency Medical Technician before also becoming a paramedic prior to her career as a director for the Emergency Institute. Today, the department she directs consists of paramedic, fire, CPR and emergency management and planning.
Reflecting on her role in a male dominated profession, Remington said everyone is going to face some type of adversity regardless of their gender. A person could face adversity due to their race, sexual orientation or religion, Remington explained.
But she encouraged those who face adversity to “power through and overcome it.”
“If you want to be equal, show that you’re equal,” Remington said. “Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. Be assertive, not aggressive.”
When it comes to useful skills in the technical field, Remington said communication, proficiency, determination, confidence and ability are the most helpful and beneficial, skills that members in NTHS can develop.
“Don’t be afraid to prove yourself,” Remington said. “Know your trade.”
The ability to think critically through a situation, especially as a paramedic, “being able to treat them confidently is so important,” Remington emphasized.
She added it’s an important trait to be respectful to a customer and a customer’s home and to acknowledge that you’re there to be of service to them.
Antrim, director of Technical Education at DCCC and advisor for NTHS, oversees the trade programs like carpentry, electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, refrigeration and air conditioning.
Antrim said she was inspired by her dad who was involved in the trades as an electrician, mechanic and an HVAC technician as she was growing up.
She found herself involved in technical education after working for a non-profit company, Congresso, which educated the Latino population in skills like truck driving and recruited them for careers.
“I’ve just always had a passion for social services, but, seeing education as a really strong way to be able to help,” Antrim said. “[In the] trades, you see all of these very readily available jobs that don’t take a master’s degree, or don’t take a doctoral degree or even a bachelor’s degree for someone to be able to qualify. Within a year you can learn the skills you need to become entry level.”
Antrim also explained how these trade careers are in high demand. She said technical program students graduate without high levels of debt and yet earn a good salary.
“There is a stigma that is related to trades, that people who go into trades education or trades programs are less than or not as smart,” Antrim said. “It’s quite the opposite. You have to really have a mechanical ability.”
Remington explained how she took a carpentry class after completing her master’s degree and now she has a wood working station in her garage where she knows how to use carpentry tools.
“I’ve built fireplace mantels and do crown molding and it was all because [I realized], what’s to stop me?” Remington said. “And I did that here at the college.”
In fact, Remington emphasized, there is “nothing to stop females” from pursing their careers at DCCC.
“I remember being with my dad [who said] here’s how you change a washer on the sink, and here’s how you do this, and here’s how you do that, and that’s how I fell in love with doing stuff,” Remington said.
Contact Amy Grace Drinkwater at firstname.lastname@example.org