A Rock Star Interview

By Tyler Simmons, COT senior

Edited by Jessalyn Kray, RT senior, and Tabatha Zang, VA senior

What is it like to go for a job interview and meet Ellwood City’s hometown rock legend Donnie Iris? Well that happened to one of our LCCTC Computer and Office Technology students, Tyler Simmons from Ellwood City.

Initially, Mrs. Haynes saw the ad for the local radio station looking for help and thought Tyler would be a good fit, so she had Tyler contact WXED 107.3 in Ellwood City, and boy-o-boy is he glad he did!

Here is Tyler’s job interview experience from his point of view:

As I contacted the WXED 107.3 website, Jerry Corbin answered me within 5 minutes. When I told him everything I have learned thus far in Computer and Office Technology, it seemed to them that I could be the right fit for the position. Instead of meeting Jerry and Ricky V at the radio station, they invited me to meet them on February 28th at the Ellwood City Historical Society where Donnie Iris was going to be honored for his birthday.

When I arrived at the event, I was not expecting it, but the Mayor of Ellwood City was there. I kept thinking this is such an unbelievable opportunity I was given, especially to meet Mayor Tony Court, and talk to him.  He was more than willing to cooperate when I asked him to be involved in a couple pictures I wanted to take. A very busy and important person, he still manages to keep a level head, is easy going, and quite personable. Even though I was feeling nervous, the Mayor was very welcoming.  But there was more in store for me.

When I met Donnie Iris it was still nothing but work on my mind. Yes I had my nerves jumping a little, but I could not let it show.  Donnie Iris was laid back and really cool. He is not a big showman or anything. He is just like a normal guy, and he was very welcoming. The first words I had to tell him after introducing myself was “I’m am taking pictures for the WXED website, and my school. When this starts to calm down I would like to get a picture with you, Rick, Jerry, the Mayor, and myself all together.” All he had to say was, “Alright man, let’s go do it.”  He was ready and willing to take pictures immediately. He acts just like the rest of us which made it much easier to do what I had to do.

Donnie Iris spoke about growing up in Ellwood City, his lifelong career, and how it all began.  Yes -- there was time to take pictures and get autographs. They also had a cake made by a local bakery with Donnie Iris’ portrait on it, and, instead of Donnie Iris singing to us, this time, everyone in attendance (around 300 people) sang Happy Birthday to Donnie and got to enjoy some cake too.

During the interview portion of the evening, I was able to show both Jerry and Rick, both radio broadcasters, that I had a strong interest in the position that was available and that I was more than capable of doing a good job. Over the three years of instruction by Miss Gabriel and Mrs. Cook in the Computer and Office Technology shop, I earned several Microsoft Certifications, along with a lot of different skills such as Video Editing, Adobe Photoshop, Interview Skills, Web Design and Animation.  Everything I learned thus far in my shop prepared me for this great opportunity.

Mrs. Haynes was a tremendous help to me by believing in me and giving me the confidence I needed.  Ms. Gabriel and Mrs. Cook were also encouraging and helpful with interview and dress code advice.

Not only will I get the experience I need working at the radio station, I will also be learning so much. Even though they said they will be teaching me how to do everything, it is very possible that I am going to teach them, as was shown later that night. Rick was attempting to start his show and something was messing up. I managed to help Rick and Jerry fix it, and he was able to start his show after about 5-10 minutes of slight irritation. The biggest quote that hit me was as we fixed the issue he said, “You aren’t even in yet, and you’re already teaching us!”

Did I get the job?  Yes. -- and I started working immediately.

Tyler is currently working on graphic design projects for the radio station.  He said they will be giving him projects to work on and he is able to do them as part of his assignment in shop; he could also go to the radio station to work on projects.  Pretty cool, Tyler!