Student Success: Carson WrayMar 18, 2021
Approaching his 2020 graduation from Morehead High School, Carson Wray was set on heading to Tennessee to pursue diesel mechanics.
“But I started getting offers for baseball, and then our season got cut short,” he said. “I wanted to continue to get the offers, so I decided to come to RCC and take welding.”
Working toward his diploma, Wray has enjoyed welding more than he expected. He now plans to pursue a local welding career when he graduates.
“Welding is like Legos for big kids. You put two pieces together and make something in the end,” he said. I’m learning all the different techniques and how if you can have everything right, it looks good.”
Wray has been eager to work with his hands his entire life.
“I’ve always liked cars since I was a little kid, and I wanted to be a car mechanic. When I turned 15 I bought my first truck and it was a diesel, and I fell in love with the diesels,” he said. “I’ve always lived on a farm so I’ve been around tractors and equipment, so I figured diesel mechanics would be a good choice.”
That’s still an option for him in the future – and he would be able to utilize his welding skills in that field.
Taking 14 credit hours, Wray has not had any issues with handling his courses, even the classes that are offered online during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The full online classes give me time to complete my work and do other stuff too. Everything’s been smooth,” he said.
For welding, Wray has some online assignments.
“I have time to read the material, go over it, and take the quizzes. But a majority of it is in the lab,” he said.
To prospective students, Wray offers some advice: “If you like welding or think you would like it, you can always come in and try it. I think you will fall in love with it. Don’t get frustrated when you first start out, because [your work] is not going to look good at all. It takes time.”
When he’s not involved in RCC activities, Wray said, “I trade goats. That’s what I do to make a little money.”
And he had a financial boost with school when the RCC Foundation awarded him with a couple of scholarships.
Ironically, the student who grew up on a farm and is now studying welding received the Cecil Grayson and Louise Rierson Moore Endowed Scholarship – established in January 2020 by the Grayson Whitt Family in memory of the Moores, whose Galloway Farm near Eden was thought to be the largest farm in Rockingham County.
“They were both from Madison, and he was a local entrepreneur in the wholesale grocery business and real estate,” said Grayson Whitt, grandson of the Moores. “He was very politically involved, and served as mayor of Madison for several terms.”
Whitt went in search of way to honor their memory, and decided on a scholarship for students in Workforce Development programs at RCC – full-time students enrolled in an Industrial Technologies program leading to a career in a trade.
“Those students are not like the typical college freshmen, who are highly academic and can easily get scholarships,” Whitt said. “They are trade-type people … they may be the ones who come to your home and work on your heating system.”
Whitt said as RCC approaches construction for its new Center for Workforce Development, scholarships such as these are important.
“A Workforce Development scholarship can go a long way for these students,” Whitt said. “You could touch someone long-term.”
Wray said it was pretty easy to apply for the scholarship, and had to write a paper on why he should receive it.
“I like to think of myself as a hard worker and very determined, and this is because I run my own business of Wray’s Livestock where I buy and sell cattle and goats, and this has taught me a lot of life lessons that I put into my schooling like never give up when things are hard,” Wray said.
Overall, Wray is happy with his decision to attend Rockingham Community College.
“I like RCC. It feels like home… it IS home, really. I know everybody here, and I feel like I’m able to relate with teachers more,” he said. “I definitely recommend RCC because it’s local, you can save money if you’re not financially stable, and it gives you more time to look at other options for 4-year universities. RCC helps you get ahead in your fundamental classes.”
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336-342-4261 ext. 2201