WECA graduations do not mark beginnings, nor ends. Rather, they are exciting milestones on already distinguished journeys.
And WECA's Northern California graduation ceremony - held at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, June 8th - was no different. The halls of WECA bustled with graduates and their loved ones and reverberated with love and support.
"I was glad to see so many family and friends at the graduation," said Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and graduation emcee. "Graduating from these programs is not easy, so to have that continued support from your loved ones is important."
WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan, concurred.
"I love seeing everyone's family and friends here. They are just as much the driving force behind a graduate's success as the graduate themselves," Flanagan said.
The evening began with a lively cocktail hour featuring delicious appetizers from Hannibal's Catering and drinks poured by WECA's Curtis Hicks and Audra Jamieson, and then segued into a heartfelt ceremony emceed by Slemp.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony included:
- Spotlights on WECA member contractors who were contributing sponsors to the graduation celebration, as well as special guests like Chris Nelson of Bergelectric, Jay Taylor of Vasko Electric, and Nora Carlton from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship
- An inspiring speech from Windell Pascascio, Jr. - alumni of the WECA Class of 2013, and current WECA member contractor
- Presentation of awards to the 20 graduating apprentices who completed their entire Apprenticeship while maintaining all of their discipline points
- Presentation of diplomas by apprenticeship instructors Zach Wallace, Steve Kappes, John Arias, James Hall, and Lakeal Morris
- Ideal Industries raffle hosted by current Ideal Industries representative and former WECA instructor Ned Johns
One of the focal points of the ceremony - aside from the presentation of awards and diplomas - was Pascascio, Jr.'s rousing speech. Pascascio, Jr. - a Belizean native who has worked in the electrical industry since he was 16 years old - detailed his journey to success and dispensed sage advice in his speech.
"My WECA apprenticeship years were exciting; I worked with Valley Unique Electric through my five years of the program before working with Rex Moore as a project manager for two years," said Pascascio, Jr. "Then I received my C10 license in 2016 and started my own business."
Pascascio, Jr. continued, stating, "Our first WECA apprentice will start their apprenticeship later this year, so I'm proud of that. And I want to take this moment to encourage everyone out there who has plans to eventually own their own electrical contracting business - you can do it."
Then Pascascio, Jr. rounded out his speech by saying, "I remember riding my bicycle with my tools in my backpack doing residential work and now I'm here today [as an electrical contractor], so if I can make it happen, any of you guys can make it happen."
And then the evening ended on a poignant note - provided by none other than emcee Slemp.
"I don't have tears in my eyes - it's just allergies," Slemp joked.
Slemp then added, "But seriously, I will miss some of these guys. This is one of the things I love about my job - being able to train apprentices to become electricians, and then watch them go out and succeed."