Although Tulsa Tech offers many different programs and opportunities for all types of students to succeed, each student must be dedicated to learning new skills in order to truly make their own path. Carpentry student Jordan Dunkin demonstrates his dedication each morning, by waiting on the 6:50 am bus that takes him to downtown Tulsa, then catching a second bus that stops near the Lemley Memorial Campus for class.
This daily routine, this type of dedication, are both admired and greatly respected by Tulsa Tech’s Carpentry Instructor, Mr. John Antonelli.
“Jordan’s dedication to being here, every day, is just great,” Antonelli said. “And once he’s here, he learns quickly and works hard to complete the jobs he is given.”
Originally from Iowa, this tall, 27-year old Hawkeye moved to Oklahoma while still in grade school, and grew up and attended Charles Page High School in Sand Springs.
“I wish I had taken classes at Tech while I was still in high school,” Dunkin said. “But I really didn’t know as much about the classes back then.”
The former Sandite discovered Tulsa Tech with the help of his friend, and mentor, Robert Franklin, currently Tulsa Tech’s Associate Superintendent for Outreach & Advancement.
“Jordan was a former high school student at Charles Page High School where I served as his principal,” Franklin explained. “He was upbeat, friendly, and fully engaged in the high school experience, yet he did not have a solid career training opportunity.”
Last year Dunkin called his former high school principal to ask for advice on how Tulsa Tech might help him find a training program. The carpentry program proved to be the right fit, with the right instructor, at the right time in his life.
”I chose carpentry because I like to work with my hands, and I like to see how things are put together,” Dunkin explained. “To see things planned out, with drawings, and then getting to build it.”
The carpentry program often presents unique challenges, even for this dedicated student, and Dunkin is thankful his instructor seems to always know the correct answer.
“Math can be difficult for me, and Mr. Antonelli can just break it down to help me understand it,” Dunkin said. “I consider him a bit of a math genius.”
Challenges are nothing new to Dunkin, a Special Olympian for the last 15 years, he often has to work a little harder to accomplish his goals, and his desire and dedication are always accompanied by his optimism, and a trademark smile.
“I began competing in the Special Olympics in 2001, when I was in 7th grade, and I’ve participated in every event since then,” Dunkin said proudly. “This year there was a lot of rain, so I thought, ‘well this should help keep me cool,’ and I just kept on running.”
The future carpenter says his favorite part of the event is just being there, taking in the whole experience, getting to see old friends, and of course being able to compete.
“This year I competed in the pentathlon, the 4×4 relay, and basketball,” Dunkin explained. “The pentathlon consists of five events, the 100-meter run, 400-meter run, shot put, running long-jump, and the high-jump.”
Tulsa Tech is changing this athletes’ life by providing him meaningful and relevant career training that he may have never been able to secure on his own. The outreach services of Tulsa Tech’s Career Advisors and Disability Services Coordinators have made his friend, and former high school principal, extremely proud.
“These individuals have helped one of my personal friends move to a higher and more noble place on the way to economic stability,” Frankin said. “I am proud for Jordan, and I am proud of my colleagues at Tulsa Tech.”
Like many Olympic athletes, Jordan Dunkin is no stranger to dedication, and he has resolved to make his own path toward success.
“Some people will criticize people with mental disabilities, or just think some things are just too complicated, and they think people won’t be able to get through this,” Dunkin said. “Don’t listen to that negativity, don’t let other people plan your life, just remember, if I can succeed, so can you.”
If you’re currently looking for exciting careers for high school and adult students, quality corporate training for employees, or a challenging new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit a campus today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu..