Like many, Jonathan Johnson survived to high school graduation. But his survival story is unlike most.
On a cold winter evening a few months ago, Johnson, 17, of Yukon, drove to visit his girlfriend and her family on their Missouri farm. Heavy rains soaked the “Show Me State,” and flash flood alerts began blaring on Johnson’s cell phone.
Johnson said he is quite certain that a map of the area would read “the middle of nowhere.” Faced with unfamiliar surroundings and the fear of hydroplaning his car, he phoned his girlfriend’s father for advice. Around 11 p.m., Johnson unknowingly crossed a low-water bridge now completely covered by floodwaters.
“My car got swept away,” Johnson said. “My headlights were covered by water.”
Somehow, he managed to open the car door and plunged into a chilly rushing river. He swam ashore and began walking. His cell phone was lost in the escape. He instinctively followed a barbed-wire fence to a road. By now, he had started to lose feeling in his legs.
“I knew I could die of hypothermia,” he said. “I had never been that cold before.”
Off in the distance, he saw a light at a farmhouse. Once he reached the front door, he started knocking on it and then banging on the windows. A startled resident greeted him with a shotgun. Once Johnson explained his plight, the farmer acted to warm him by a wood stove. Johnson used the man’s telephone to call his girlfriend’s dad, whom Johnson said had feared he had drowned. He also called home to share his experience with his parents.
Johnson is thankful to have avoided a tragedy. He has since completed his homeschool coursework to earn his high school diploma, and he finished Electrical Trades curriculum online through Canadian Valley Technology Center’s El Reno Campus. All at-school classes were halted in late March by statewide mandate in the wake of the worldwide Covid-19 outbreak.
He excelled in the classroom. His instructor, Micky Marsee, chose Johnson as Student of the Year. This honor resulted in an interview for the CV Tech Foundation Outstanding Scholar award, which includes a $1,000 cash gift. An awards committee selected Johnson for its high school recipient of the award. The adult recipient at El Reno is Jordan Dorris, of Yukon, who completed Cosmetology. The Cowan Campus recognized Health Careers graduate Alison Gomez, of Yukon, as its high school scholar. Harley Foster, of Mustang, is the adult recipient after completing Administrative Medical Office.
CV Tech’s Foundation was incorporated in 1984 to foster and promote technology education and help students realize their dreams. Last year, the Foundation provided more than $50,000 in hardship assistance, tuition assistance, scholarships, grants, awards and supports state and national contest participation for Canadian Valley students.
Johnson said he will use most of the $1,000 to buy tools. He was recently hired as a maintenance technician at the Children’s Center in Bethany at a school career fair. For now, he is responsible for handyman jobs, such as fixing leaky faucets and maintaining HVAC equipment and electrical motors as an apprentice electrician.
He served the student organization SkillsUSA as a state officer and reflects fondly on his experience at CV Tech.
“It’s a massive opportunity,” he said. “It was absolutely free. I remember when I took a tour and how impressed I was with my instructor.”
Future plans include working toward an electrician journeyman’s license and eventually master electrician and a contractor’s license.
2020 CV Tech Award Recipients
$100 Dr. Marvin Denny Memorial Award: Christopher Heck, a Yukon, Graphic Design
$250 Howard Griffin Memorial Award: Robert Duncan, Mustang, Heating & Air Conditioning
$200 Post-Secondary Faith & Love Award in memory of Darlene Koos: Shelbie Stone, Piedmont, Practical Nursing
$100 Secondary Faith & Love Award in memory of Darlene Koos: Abigail Luis, Yukon, Health Careers
$250 Dr. Greg & MeMe Winters Scholarships
Chickasha Campus – Devery Green, Minco, Computer Information Systems
Cowan Campus – Marinne Morgan, Piedmont, Biomedical Sciences
El Reno Campus – Logan Gauchat, Mustang, Computer Programming
$250 Superintendent’s Meritorious Awards
Chickasha Campus – Toby Sarrett, Minco, Automotive Service Technology
Cowan Campus – Arielle Anderson, Yukon, Medical Assisting
El Reno Campus – Anthony Neal, Mustang, Computer Information Systems
$1,000 Foundation Outstanding Scholar Awards
Chickasha Campus/Secondary – Dylan Laumbach, Chickasha, Precision Machining Technology
Chickasha Campus/Post- Secondary – Rachel Butler-Cornelius, Blanchard, Surgical Technology
Cowan Campus/Secondary: Alison Gomez, Yukon, Health Careers
Cowan Campus Post- Secondary: Harley Foster, Mustang, Administrative Medical Office
El Reno Campus/Secondary: Jonathan Johnson, Yukon, Electrical Trades
El Reno Campus/Post-Secondary: Jordan Dorris, Yukon, Cosmetology
DID YOU KNOW?
Tax revenue designated to public schools is earmarked for construction, maintenance, equipment and operation of the school. It often does not provide the funding to assist individual students to meet the costs of their education. That’s where the CV Tech Foundation comes into play. A locally elected board of trustees oversees disbursement of Foundation funds each year. For more information, or to donate to the Foundation, visit the Foundation’s website page at cvtech.edu.