During her time at Meridian Technology Center, Carpentry student Karlee Hagler has had a hand in building everything from cabinets to birdhouses to the walls of a home. While the skills she has learned on those projects have certainly set her up for her future, she often looks back on the memories which first inspired her love for carpentry.
“I like to build things. My grandpa started that.” Hagler reminisced on the memories of working alongside her grandpa as a young girl. “He taught me how to draw, and then it went on to building jewelry boxes, and now I’m building houses.”
As part of the Carpentry program, students have the opportunity to build a house from the ground up under the supervision and guidance of their instructor. Working alongside her classmates building the house helped Hagler cement the skills she had learned in the classroom. The house will be finished in May 2022. Hagler graduated Tech in October of 2021. Though she won’t be able see the completion of the project at Tech, she hopes to put those skills to use in the National Guard doing similar work.
“I want to go into the National Guard to build homes for those who don’t have them,” Hagler said. “If I have the skills to build something that people can live in and be safe in, I feel like I should do that. I can keep practicing my carpentry skills while helping others.”
Not only has she developed hands-on skills like measuring, cutting and framing, but Hagler is proud to say her confidence has also grown.
“When I first started the carpentry program at Tech, I wasn’t sure what I would gain from it,” Hagler said. “Meridian showed me there is a lot more that I can do in this world than I thought, and carpentry is one of those things. I’m more confident than I was before in showing my skills, and I love it.”
Hagler’s next steps include passing the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam, serving in the National Guard and continuing her education. While she hasn’t yet determined her long-term plans, she knows they will involve using her carpentry skills to help others. Regardless of the path she chooses, Hagler is certain that the confidence and skills she gained at Tech will set her up for success.
Meridian is currently accepting applications for January 2022 enrollment. High school students spend a half day at their home high school and half day with Meridian in hands-on courses. Meridian is tuition free for district high school students and includes free transportation from their home high school. Students can receive credits for high school courses in a variety of academics or as electives. High school students will need to talk to their high school counselor for an application. Adult students can enroll in the morning or afternoon session or attend all day. Adults can enroll online at meridiantech.edu/adults.
While attending Meridian, students can also participate in Career Training Student Organizations related to their field. Upon graduating Meridian, nearly 90 percent of students continue to higher education or a job related to their program of study. Parents and students can access information about the programs available at Meridian online at www.meridiantech.edu/programs.
Meridian Technology Center has been a driver of economic development since 1975. With a mission to educate, enrich lives and secure economic futures, Meridian offers full-time career training programs, short courses, Workforce and Economic Development services and entrepreneurial support to residents from the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.
For more information or to enroll, visit www.meridiantech.edu or contact a career counselor by phone at (405) 377-3333 or toll-free at (888) 607-2509.