June 8, 2023

Miles Deaton wasn’t always sure what he wanted to do when he grew up, but thanks to the Stokes Early College and Trades Program at the Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center, he is looking forward to a career that will be rewarding, challenging and interesting.

After growing up in Winston-Salem, his family moved to King, and he began to attend Early College at the Stokes County Center. The Early College program allows students to complete the requirements for a high school diploma while earning college credit at the same time. Some students even have the opportunity to graduate from the Early College with a high school diploma and an associate degree.

Miles, who is a junior, will earn his high school diploma and welding certificates, which means that he’ll be workforce-ready at 18.

He first discovered his interest in welding at a summer job with a family friend. He was able to observe and learn some basic principles of welding and knew he was really interested. “I like how you can do pretty much anything once you know how,” Miles says. “You can work on anything from large construction projects to art.”

In addition to his traditional academic classes, Miles is also taking a blueprinting class and a cutting class, where you learn how to use a torch properly and the extensive safety requirements necessary to properly and safely weld.

Miles is enthusiastic about his early college courses, too. He says he really likes how small the classes and campus are, and that you can talk to anyone and always get the help that you need.

We have all been through so much in the last year and a half – but it does seem like students were particularly affected. Miles says he is glad that his welding courses are in person and that he can get the hands-on learning essential to his chosen profession.

One project that he is proud of is a rocket stove that he made in the blueprinting class. Miles not only created the plans, he then built the rocket stove, too. Miles will continue to put what he learns to use at Viator Design & Construction, where he interns now, and will work once he obtains his welding certification and diploma.

The welding program is just one of several Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center offerings. In addition to the Stokes Early College High School, there is a practical nursing program, basic EMT courses and personal enrichment courses. To learn more, visit forsythtech.edu or contact Elizabeth Guiles at eguiles@forsythtech.edu or 336.593.5402.