Stilwell’s Cedrick Cooper: Indian Capital Technology Center Athlete Spotlight - Presented by Indian Capital Technology Center
Cedrick Cooper is used to working in a team setting as a member of the Indians football team where he plays defensive end and throws the discus on the track team.
“When I put on the helmet and walked on the field I felt like a superhero,” laughed Cooper. “I like being a vocal leader and I love the brotherhood of the sport.”
But Cedric is also in the second year of the welding program at Indian Capital Technology Center in Stilwell where succeeding on your own is the goal.
“This program has taught me to be more self-reliant and confident without a team behind me and I’ve really learned a lot.”
Being a farm boy, Cedrick learned early on about working with his hands and building things with his grandfather. That bond was important as Cooper was thinking about getting into the welding program.
“I really got into welding thanks to our previous instructor, Mr. Colvin, whom we all called Boss. There was just something about the way he spoke to me during our interview that reminded me of my grandpa and the way he always told it to me straight.”
That first year saw Cedrick honored as part of the National Technology Honor Society and also being on the ICTC leadership team. This year the program is under the watchful eye of instructor Levi Reasnor, who shares his 10 years of certified experience with today’s students.
“My goal is to get students certified in industrial the first year and get them pipe certified the second year. I tell them the opportunities are endless and they’ll learn a trade for free that I paid $20,000 to get. And even if they don’t think they’ll use these skills right out of school it’s always something you can fall back on and as we’ve seen during the pandemic, while some jobs go away, the need for welders has remained and you can make good money as well.”
Cedrick has been slowed a little in his second year of the program due to a severe leg injury he suffered in a car accident and as a result he’s missed some school and isn’t exactly sure what lies ahead for him.
“At first I thought I would just go to work after high school. But I got an interest letter about a football scholarship at a school in Kansas and I’ve also thought about just walking-on at Northeastern State next fall. But there’s also a chance I still might decide just to go work. And I feel just being in that welding class has shown me just how successful I can be if I go in that direction.”
No matter what path Cedrick Cooper takes he’ll always have that valuable trade available that he learned thanks to Indian Capital Technology Center.