Written by Megan Bednar- Foundation Intern, Fall 2021
[Clinton, N.C.] – Jeffery Koopman, a senior from Midway High School, is currently on track to become one of Sampson Community College’s first Career & College Promise (CCP) students to graduate with a Welding Technology degree.
Koopman grew up on a dairy farm and was raised to work hard from a young age. As a child, he learned to weld by fixing things around the farm. But what led him to the welding program at Sampson Community College (SCC) was his immense love for the craft and his friends’ recommendations.
“I’ve welded since I was a little kid, and I heard from a couple of other guys that they were taking classes, so I signed up,” Koopman stated.
Balancing the welding program with his high school classes has been a breeze to Koopman.
He remarked, “Because of COVID-19, during the last eighteen months I’ve been able to take all of my high school classes online, and that allowed me to come here and take welding. These last two years of high school have been pretty easy.”
Emily Brown, Lead Career Coach at SCC, expressed that Koopman truly is a wonderful student to have within the College & Career Promise Program.
“He is one of the first CCP students to complete over 30 credit hours in the Welding Technology program while still in high school,” Brown voiced. “Not only has he excelled as a welder, but he also continues to perform well in his general education courses. The CCP program is very proud of Jeffrey.”
Koopman says excelling in the welding program isn’t about being the “best” or the “first”, but simply about achieving his goals and doing something he enjoys.
He stated about his accomplishment, “It’s nice, but at the same time I don’t feel any different from others. I just did what I felt like doing, and welding was what I wanted to do.”
To Koopman, the kindness and motivation from his instructors has influenced him greatly within the welding program.
“Alan, Mark, and Dale have really helped me along the way,” he declared. “They are wonderful motivators and are always there for us.”
For Koopman, however, the greatest influence and guide to him during his time at SCC has been Katie Butler, a former Midway High School Career Coach and current MHS School Counselor. Without her help, Koopman says he would have never joined the welding program.
“Ms. Butler has been with me from the start, and if it wasn’t for her guidance and support, I don’t know where I would be. She has helped me in so many ways and has done more than what I can ask for,” he gratefully said.
In the future, Koopman sees himself graduating with both his high school and welding degree. After that, he plans to attend a four-year university and continue to weld. He states that he’ll have his four-year degree to fall back on, when he’s older and unable to practice welding anymore.
“I want to go out to the pipeline and also start welding in an oil field,” Koopman stated. “But I first want to go to a four-year college and get a degree. Then I’ll come back and weld.”
Mark Brown, a Welding Instructor here at SCC, commented that Koopman’s hardworking nature is truly a joy to have in class.
“Jeffrey is a very motivated student that strives to do the best he can at whatever task is at hand. He has a positive attitude, and when asked to tackle a new welding position, he goes at it with a smile. He is a pleasure to have as a student,” Brown voiced.
The classes offered through SCC’s CCP program have helped Koopman fulfill his desire to become a fully certified welder. But they’ve also helped him mature and develop that hardworking attitude his teachers love.
“It has made me grow up a little bit, that’s for sure,” he remarked.
The hands-on activities and face-to-face instruction offered through SCC’s welding program has also made a difference in Koopman’s learning. Not only has he gained friends and mentors, but he’s been able to work with tangible material — the type of learning he enjoys.
Koopman wholeheartedly expressed that he would recommend SCC’s welding and CCP program to other students.
“Welding can lead you into many different job opportunities. It also makes decent money. For me, I really enjoy it and I’ve always enjoyed it since I was a little kid. So why wouldn’t someone want to do it?”
Sampson Community College is very proud of Jeffery! We wish him luck in all his future endeavors, and we look forward to seeing all he will accomplish!
About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education.