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Gaston College training program helps make truck driving a family tradition

Gaston College training program helps make truck driving a family tradition
Danicqua Knox, second from left, a student in Gaston College’s Truck Driver Training program, will be the fourth member of the family to graduate from the school, following her mother, Deborah Knox, and brothers, Dontavius Cooper and Steven Good Jr. (Courtesy: Gaston College)

DALLAS, N.C. — The Truck Driver Training program at North Carolina’s Gaston College has helped put four members of one local family on the road to rewarding careers. Danicqua Knox, who will graduate from the program in March, is the latest family member to go through the program, following her mother and two brothers.

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Danicqua’s mother, Deborah Knox, became interested in truck driving as a career about 19 years ago, but circumstances prevented her from pursuing it until several years later. When the timing was right, she researched various driving schools and decided the Gaston College Truck Driver Training program was the best fit. She entered the program in January 2011 and graduated in March of that year.

“Graduation was the best day of my life,” Deborah said. “In my opinion, the program instructors were the best any school could ever have.”

When Deborah first started driving, her children took turns traveling on the road with their mom. Her sons, Dontavius Cooper and Steven Good Jr., both of whom worked in the warehouse industry at the time, enjoyed the experience and decided to follow in their mother’s footsteps. Cooper graduated from the Gaston College program in 2013, Good graduated two years later. Deborah’s mother, Easter Walker, also became interested in the industry, and became a professional driver after training at a different school.

Deborah and her sons have worked for several different companies, driving different types of trucks and trailers, and gaining experience.

“They say that when you love what you do for a living, it stops being a job and becomes a lifestyle,” Deborah said. “I have loved being in the trucking business.”

The COVID-19 pandemic adversely impacted the trucking industry in 2020, and at one point Deborah and Cooper, who were working for the same company, were furloughed. A few weeks later, they were both hired by a trucking company that contracts with Amazon.

“Everything has been good so far,” said Deborah. “So good that my other son, Steven, got a job here as well.”

Danicqua said she is enjoying the Gaston College Truck Driver Training program, and she has been riding with her mother on weekends to get some extra training. She looks forward to graduating and continuing what has become a family tradition of truck driving.

“I’d like to say thank you to the school and instructors, and to all the people that helped me, and my family, get started in our careers,” Danicqua said.

The Truck Driver Training Program at Gaston College, a collaborative program with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, provides the training required for students to operate tractor-trailers and earn their commercial driver’s license (CDL). The program is certified by the Professional Truck Driving Institute (PTDI).

“Gaston College has one of the best Truck Driver Training programs in the South,” said Donna Blake, coordinator of occupational and continuing Education.

“We know this because our students who obtained their CDLs through our program spread the word to their family and friends about how excellent our program is, and these folks enroll in the program themselves,” Blake continued. “Students have great-paying jobs waiting for them when they graduate from this program. It is truly an honor to work with students who are going places and earning a great living after graduation from the Gaston College Truck Driver Training Program.”

To find out more about Gaston College’s Truck Driver Training program, contact Blake at [email protected].edu or 704-922-2267.

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Danicqua Knox, a student in the Gaston College Truck Driver Training program, learns from instructor Myron Greene about how dashboard gauges and warning lights provide critical information to keep drivers aware and safe when operating their trucks on the road. (Courtesy: Gaston College)
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