Patriot student Dylan Hopkins has earned statewide recognition and secured employment thanks to the skills he’s learned in the Wheeling Park High School Career and Technical Education Department.
The Park senior has completed the Career and Technical Department’s Machine Tool Technology trades requirements. Hopkins has an impressive 3.8 grade-point average, and he cites Aaron Fedorke as his favorite teacher.
Fedorke said it has been a joy to have Hopkins as a student. He said Hopkins’ skill level is on par with a veteran of the trade.
“He’s young, but he’s already like a journeyman,” Fedorke said of Hopkins and his talent and ability.
In his machine tools class, he’s learned to utilize Computer Numerical Controls (CNC) to cut metals for the creation of signs and other products. Although Machine Tool Technology is his favorite class, he’s also come to enjoy welding.
As a junior, Hopkins placed first at the SkillsUSA competition in the machining division for his work on the manual lathe. This year he will be competing in CNC programming and hopes to claim first place again. Hopkins is a member of the Wheeling Park Machine Tools Tech Club and the Patriot Welding Club.
In addition to his school work, Hopkins also works in Wheeling at Touchstone Advanced Composites. Touchstone is a research facility that focuses on the development of materials and products. Hopkins said he enjoys working at Touchstone, and he noted that what he has learned at Wheeling Park High School made his employment at Touchstone possible.
“I’m a CNC operator (at Touchstone), and I work on aerospace molds that are used in the fuselage of aircrafts,” he said. “I’m basically operating the same controls at work that I’ve used at school. Wheeling Park is very up-to-date, and the technology is very nice.”
Wheeling Park High School Assistant Principal Stephanie Bugaj is the director of the school’s career and technical education department. She said she is proud of Hopkins for all he has accomplished in the career and tech program.
“Dylan is an excellent student, and he’s taken advantage of every educational opportunity that he could,” Bugaj said. “He’s motivated, and he will succeed in any path he chooses to pursue.”
Hopkins’ future is bright, and he has excellent options following his graduation from Wheeling Park High School. He said he may choose to work fulltime at Touchstone, but he is considering attending Universal Technical Institute, which has already offered him a scholarship. Regardless of the path he chooses, Hopkins said he plans to enjoy his senior year at Wheeling Park High School.
“I’ve really liked it (at Wheeling Park),” Hopkins said. “My teachers have really taught me a lot, and what I’ve learned has given me a lot of great opportunities.”