Crossville native receives outstanding apprentice award as top honor graduate

By | November 10, 2017 10:32 am

by Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2011 Cumberland County High School graduate and 2012 Tennessee College of Applied Technology graduate and Crossville, Tennessee native, recently received the outstanding apprentice award from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Apprentice Program.

Sarah Wyatt, one of 103 honor graduates from the NNSY Apprentice Program, was presented the award by the National Association of Superintendent at Willet Hall in Portsmouth, Virginia.

NNSY congratulated 180 graduates from its program. The graduates, represent 25 trades across the shipyard, and successfully completed a four-year training program, which includes academics, trade theory and on-the-job experience. Upon graduation, the apprentices received a Technician Career Studies Certificate and were converted to the journeymen level of their trade.

Wyatt said receiving this award as an early graduate, is her proudest accomplishment.

“I worked very hard to meet and exceed these requirements, and am proud to have met that goal,” she said. “I have had tremendous support and love from my family and friends in Crossville while I’ve been on this adventure. I couldn’t be more thankful for them.”

“Being an apprentice is a unique experience. NNSY’s Apprenticeship Program is quite long compared to other shipyards and other welding apprenticeships. There are stringent requirements that must be met and maintained in order to graduate early,” she added.

Wyatt, was hired as an Apprentice Combination Welder and became a Burning Specialist at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Wyatt is a subject matter expert and operator of NNSY’s ESAB cutting machine, which is a large scale CNC oxy-acetylene and plasma cutting machine. She is responsible for welding utilizing multiple processes at NNSY, as well as cut material via oxy-acetylene or plasma arc methods.

Wyatt has carried lessons learned from her hometown into working for the Department of Defense.

“My parents taught me the value of strong work ethic from a young age,” she said. “I was later presented an opportunity from CCHS to get an early start at Tennessee College of Applied Technology as a part time student. After graduating high school, I returned to TCAT as a full time student. The knowledge and experience I gained there has been invaluable and had a direct effect on my success in my career so far. I have been and will always be supportive of vocational school and trades training.

Wyatt is honored to have family members who previously served in the military.

“My grandfather, C.W. Simpson, retired after 20 years of service in the Marine Corps,” she said. “My mother, Rachel Wyatt, and uncle, Bill Simpson, both served in the Navy. My mother served for six years as aviation electronics technician and my uncle retired after 20 years of service.

Working with the DOD, has provided Wyatt with opportunities that continue to develop essential traits needed for success both professionally and personally.

“The DOD has provided career paths that allow me to not only work with incredible people, but also pursue a career doing what I love,” she said. “Life is short, so why spend the majority of it working in a career you don’t love? That was the logic behind my applying for, and accepting the offer for the Apprenticeship Program. I’m thankful I took the chance and was open to new opportunities.”

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