Thomas Tucker has two passions in this his high school junior year. He understands one is short-lived. The other, he expects will stay with him for much of his adult life.
Tucker is a reserve offensive lineman for the Mustang Broncos football team, which made the state playoffs this past year. A first-round matchup with eventual state runner-up and perennial east Oklahoma powerhouse Jenks did not go as planned.
Speaking of planning, Tucker also is enjoying a career pursuit in the health care industry at Canadian Valley Technology Center. He enrolled this year in CV Tech’s Health Careers program at the school’s Cowan Campus (near Yukon).
Tucker, 17, said after he thinks he will either pursue practical nursing or registered nurse at an area college. Eventually, he wants to be a clinical nurse specialist. Such advanced nurses typically develop specialized treatment plans for patients. Median pay tops $100,000, according to information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A much better than average 12 percent growth is projected within the field over the next eight years.
Tucker understands he has chosen a non-traditional career. In fact, U.S. Census Bureau data indicates less than 10 percent of nurses are male. That has not bothered his family one bit, because many of them are employed in various roles within the health care industry.
“They’ve been really supportive,” Tucker said of his parents. “They’re happy. They came to the open house and the Signing Day events at Canadian Valley, and they loved the teachers as much as I did.”
Tucker has an aunt working at a Norman hospital, and two of his grandparents work in the industry.
“Part of why I want to be a clinical nurse specialist is because my grandpa works at the VA (Veterans Administration Hospital) in Oklahoma City, and I want to do that too,” he said. “I want to help service members and former military men and women who serve our country.
“Canadian Valley is right for me. My teachers care so much. They want to see you reach your full potential.”
Tucker has gotten involved in leadership in his student organization. He is serving as treasurer for the CV Tech chapter of Health Occupations Students of America and plans to compete at the upcoming state HOSA contest.