Guy Letrick
Monmouth County Vocational School in Freehold, N.J., offers a secondary program in HVACR. But the high school students enrolled in the program are not treated like kids. At Monmouth County, professionalism is an integral part of this program.

Guy Letrick has been teaching at Monmouth County Vocational for the last three years. Previously, he was the HVACR instructor at Lincoln Tech for 11 years. When Letrick came to Monmouth, he brought with him the idea that the classroom and the lab are no different from any other jobsite.

Letrick believes that if you can succeed on the school jobsite, you'll go far when you reach the real jobsite. His insistence on professionalism, attention to detail, and emphasis on hands-on learning have earned Letrick an honorable mention in The News' Instructor of the Year contest.

Letrick came to Monmouth County Vocational and helped to build the lab, installing a number of pieces of equipment to give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. The classroom has its own computer area with troubleshooting software, and the lab has various pieces of equipment, including heat pumps, ice machines, and a special area for brazing.

In the classroom, students can wear whatever they want. But when it is time to move in to the lab, it is time to get professional.

"All the students have to wear uniforms in the lab," said Letrick. "They have to wear work boots and safety glasses."

Letrick explained that this gets the students ready for the guidelines they will need to follow when they get into the industry.

Many of his students get the opportunity to go out in the field before graduation.

"We do school to career," explained Letrick. "The kids go out during the summer and have the opportunity to do a job."

As vice president of the Asbury Park chapter of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), Letrick is able to give his students the opportunity to meet other members of the industry. Many of these professionals have come to the classroom to give presentations and answer questions. This is just one more way Letrick brings the industry to his lab.

Letrick makes sure that his students take advantage of the various opportunities available in the industry.

For example, many of Letrick's students have been active in Skills-USA VICA. In fact, Monmouth County Vocational student Brian Carpe placed tenth at the national SkillsUSA event, while student Carl Hollingshead took a silver medal at the state competition.

Letrick also puts a great deal of emphasis on certification. He encourages his students to prepare for North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and he provides testing for EPA certification, the Industry Competency Exam (ICE), and HVAC Excellence electrical, air conditioning, and heat pump certification.

Recently, Letrick's students took the ICE exams and had the highest scores in the state. This accomplishment led to a $10,000 state grant for the program, which allowed the school to purchase some high-tech items and lab equipment.

Publication date: 10/27/2003