[Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing project in conjuction with the South Plains College Alumni Association. The project highlights former SPC students and their achievements.]
by: STEVEN GEHEGAN/Staff Writer
Pete Stracener fell in love with the area around South Plains College and the city of Levelland.
Now he gets to live and work in a place that he grew fond of when he was young.
Stracener grew up in the town of Abernathy and graduated from Abernathy High School. After graduating from Abernathy, Stracener went to McMurry University in Abilene.
After spending time at McMurry, Stracener decided to transfer to SPC in the spring of 1997, and stayed until the spring of 1998. During his time living in a residence hall on campus, he says that he enjoyed all of the student activities that SPC had to offer. It was the student activities that got Stracener involved in campus life, and it kept him wanting to stay connected with the college.
While Stracener was at SPC, he also was involved in the welding program that was offered. It left a lasting impression on him.
He says his time at SPC “made me want to be part of the program.”
After his time at SPC, Stracener went to College Station and spent three semesters as a student at Texas A&M. He then spent several years working in different jobs in the welding field.
There were several different jobs that Stracener held in the welding profession, starting with the time he spent as a tank welder. He also spent time in the agricultural industry and the oil and gas industry as a welder for different companies. With the more time that he spent away from Levelland, he started to realize that he missed being near it. After doing all of these jobs, he learned that his real passion was teaching.
After the time that Stracener spent doing those welding jobs, he decided that it was time to come back to South Plains. He says that things had changed a bit from when he was a student on the Levelland campus, “remembering it being a real small school, about 1500 students,” according to Stracener.
Stracener came back as an instructor of welding, starting part-time in the fall semester of 1980. Stracener then became a full-time instructor in the spring semester of 1981.
Stracener serves as chairperson of the Industrial Technology Department, having served in this role since 2006. He also is a member of the American Welding Society. Stracener currently teaches Welding 2435, Welding 2447 and Welding 2451 for the fall semester of 2015.
Stracener says that he enjoys his time teaching at SPC, as well as when he attended the college as a student. The more time that Stracener has spent on campus, the more that he has fallen in love with SPC. He says that he hopes he can keep making memories at the college.