29 students graduate from Barr Construction Institute

August 18, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Kelly Wright, guest speaker for the Barr Construction Institute graduation, talks Thursday evening at the Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center along Dual Highway. Wright is a co-anchor with the Fox news channel.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

Despite a nation that seems to be "crumbling beneath the weight of recession and partisan politics," Steven Miller has a positive outlook.

Miller, one of 29 students who graduated from the Barr Construction Institute at the Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center along Dual Highway Thursday night, is employed as an electrician with MC Dean, which sponsored Miller in his education at the institute.

Miller, who was the institute's top electrical student, said he will "keep plugging away," hoping he can hang onto his job with MC Dean.

"There's work out there," Miller said confidently after the ceremony.

The Barr Construction Institute, which offers training in the electrical, heating and air-conditioning, and plumbing fields, is operated by the Cumberland Valley chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.

The organization has been offering vocational training since 1964 and opened a new training facility a few years ago on North Locust Street, President Joan Warner said.

The graduates completed four years of schooling while working, Warner said. For most students, companies pay for their tuition, which is about $1,600 a year.

Students attend classes at the North Locust Street building two nights a week for three hours each night, she said.

The 29 graduates, who were honored following a dinner, were invited to pick out tools from a table at the front of the room as a part of their recognition.

The guest speaker was Kelly Wright, a Hagerstown resident who is a co-anchor with the Fox news channel.

Wright, who works in Washington, is known for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina, The Virginia Tech massacre and events in Iraq.

Wright talked about the tough times facing the country but told students not to let the issues weaken their attitude.

"I challenge you to look beyond the fear and look at your talent. I'm an example of how anyone from Hagerstown can make it," Wright said.

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