Kevin Gately is a guy who knows Robeson Community College inside and out in more ways than one. When a heating or air conditioning unit at the college breaks down, Kevin is often the guy who climbs into maintenance closets and crawlspaces in the buildings to troubleshoot the problem.
Kevin began working with the college’s maintenance department part-time back in 2009 when he was participating in the college’s Workforce Investment Act program as a student. Shortly after he completed the WIA program, the college contracted all of its maintenance needs with a private employment agency. Kevin applied with that agency in 2010 and has been working in the maintenance department full-time at Robeson Community College ever since.
Kevin also knows his way around the classroom at Robeson Community College. In 2012, he decided that if he was going to get ahead in the field, he needed more training in what he was doing, so he enrolled in Robeson’s Heating and Air Conditioning diploma program. Because he works at least 40, and often more, hours per week, he has only been able to take one or two classes per semester, however he has managed to earn A’s in eight of his nine classes, and a B in the other.
Neither his technical nor his academic skills have gone unnoticed. When the temperature becomes unseasonable in a building on campus, employees know who to call. Likewise, when his fellow students need assistance, they should know who to call, as Kevin is not only a member of the college’s National Technical Honor Society chapter, he also serves as the club’s president.
This year, Kevin’s academic work paid off when he was nominated for and won one of the 200 NTHS Jon H. Poteat Scholarships that are awarded nationwide. The scholarship, valued at $1,000, is named in honor of one of the co-founders of the organization. According to the NTHS web site, “the scholarships are awarded annually to NTHS members who consistently exemplify the seven character attributes of the NTHS — skill, honesty, service, responsibility, scholarship, citizenship and leadership.”
The National Technical Honor Society is one of two honor societies with chapters at Robeson Community College, the other being Phi Theta Kappa. While Phi Theta Kappa primarily serves students enrolled in two-year degree programs, the National Technical Honor Society is open to students in one- and two-year degree programs and focuses on technical programs as evident by the name. All curriculum students who meet the academic requirements are eligible for NTHS except for our university transfer students. University transfer students are eligible for Phi Theta Kappa, however, hence there is at least one honor society available to all curriculum students, and those enrolled in two-year technical programs are actually eligible for both, provided they meet the academic requirements. For information about honor societies at Robeson Community College, visit Robeson.edu/StudentActivities.
As for Gately, you’ll find him hard at work on the grounds at Robeson Community College every day for now. Come Aug. 15 when the fall semester begins, if you don’t find him working on the grounds, you’ll probably find him working in a classroom. He’s five classes away from completing his degree, providing evidence for truth in the old adage “slow and steady wins the race.”
If you are interested in starting your own race to a better future by joining Kevin in the classroom, contact our admissions office at Robeson.edu/Admissions or call 910-272-3342.
Dennis Watts is the public information officer for Robeson Community College.