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Here at the Pickens Technical College Blog, we like to occasionally highlight a recent PTC graduate who exemplifies the mission of PTC and show to other PTC students that they can find a career in their field of study that they are passionate about. As you know from reading this blog, getting students fully prepared to work hard on their passion is what PTC is all about. Today, we’re focusing on David Barber, an electronics technician working his way up at a local company using the lessons he learned in PTC’s General Electronic Technology program, taught by John Holmes.

David Barber learned the fundamentals of AC and DC power, as well as how to work with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) in his General Electronics class. Barber says John Holmes helped him “understand how sequencing works in a circuit,” which has helped Barber understand how to monitor the workflow in a machine. Holmes, of course, includes many hours of technical study and teaching in his curriculum, as any General Electronic Technology teacher should, but according to Barber, Holmes’ contributions to his students’ lives goes far beyond the syllabus:

“This man is by far the best professor I’ve had in my school career. This man’s integrity is critical—he told it like it is. Having experience in the industry he teaches made the information so much more valuable because he was always able to help illustrate what the lessons could possibly be used in.”

Barber says that Holmes’ experience helped him directly relate very particular lessons to actions and skills he and his fellow students would have to do lean and perform in their everyday jobs when they graduated from PTC.

John Holmes has taught classes in digital electronics, analog electronics, and mobile app programming for seven years. He has also worked in the electronics industry for 22 years, so his experience is considerable. Holmes is a walking resource for students who want to get ahead in the industry. More important for David Barber than the experience and teaching skill was Holmes’ compassion for his students. Anyone can learn electronics well enough to teach it, especially if they have been working in the industry for over 20 years. But Holmes routinely went above and beyond for his students to challenge them to do their best and ensure that students reached their potential:

“More than any of this though is the compassion this man has for his students… This compassion is what drives this man to encourage each and every student to rise beyond the status quo. From day one this man encouraged us to strive to be the best at everything we do. He encouraged us to be “the 1% of people in the world who don’t live a mundane life.” His passion for life helped us all to think critically about what we were really doing with our lives.”

Sometimes just knowing your teacher has high expectations for you makes you want to be a better student, and that’s just the energy that David Barber got from John Holmes. Barber has nothing but praise for his former teacher, who also taught his students how to find the “inside track” to landing a job, as well as the basic skills that everyone needs to know to hold down a job anywhere. Holmes is the kind of teacher who will go to bat for his students and help them succeed in anything they do, even if it’s not general electronics. Barber says that Holmes taught him and his fellow classmates “how to learn,” which is the most important lesson of all. We have all learned how to regurgitate answers on tests, but until we learn how to learn, we’re only memorizing words in a book. Holmes shows his students that, in the words of Barber: “challenges are required for growth, in all aspects of life…” Holmes asked his students at times how to eat an elephant. The correct response was always: “one bite at a time.”