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Synthea Tofpi

Synthea Tofpi
From left are Goldie Thompson, OSRHE vice chancellor for student preparation and special programs; Patrick Klein, Oklahoma DHS chief officer and division director of adult and family services; Synthea Tofpi, a Caddo Kiowa Tech graduate; and Becki Foster, Oklahoma CareerTech chief of staff.
Synthea Tofpi, a graduate of Caddo Kiowa Technology Center, recently received the Breaking Traditions Student Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

She was one of 21 Oklahomans honored at the 25th annual Making It Work Day at the Capitol on March 28. Making It Work Day recognizes individuals who are committed to removing barriers to success for single-parent families by providing educational experiences for students beyond the classroom. The ceremony also recognized nontraditional students and members who received national honors for their efforts.

Individuals were recognized on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and presentations were made at a luncheon at the Oklahoma History Center.

Tofpi had driven a forklift in warehouses for several companies when she began the heating, ventilation and air conditioning program at CKTC in February 2016 with the assistance of the technology center’s Work Prep program, said Ronda Weaver, CKTC Work Prep coordinator, who nominated Tofpi for the award. Tofpi completed the program one year later one week after giving birth to her daughter, Weaver said.

Tofpi began working as an HVAC apprentice for Air Comfort Solutions in June 2017 and passed the HVAC journeyman test in 2018; her certification brought her the title of HVAC journeyman, a wage increase and her own ACS truck, Weaver said. Tofpi relocated from Anadarko to Moore, where she lives with her four daughters.

“A member of the Kiowa Tribe, Synthea Tofpi is an excellent nontraditional role model, an example for her four daughters, HVAC students at CKTC, Native Americans and women everywhere,” Weaver said.

OkCTEEC is affiliated with the administrative division of the Oklahoma Association of Career and Technology Education. The council advocates for students pursuing nontraditional careers and for resources for educating single parents.

“OkCTEEC is so very proud and honored to host the Making It Work Day award ceremony and also very excited that Oklahoma’s Legislature has the opportunity to recognize those students who were nominated for outstanding achievement. This day is about recognizing not only outstanding students, but also business and community partners, instructors, OkCTEEC members and outstanding leadership. The students have incredible stories to share about overcoming barriers, but without all the partners, sometimes the barriers may not be overcome. This day is a day of celebration for all those who have vested their time and energy into seeing students succeed and rise to the occasion,” said KayTee Niquette, Work Prep and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

She serves as an adviser for OkCTEEC, along with Lisa French of the Department of Human Services and Gina McPherson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“OkCTEEC Making It Work Day at the Capitol is about making connections, reaching out to the community and recognizing our students who have pushed through many obstacles to make completion and employment goals a reality. It is a day to celebrate our administrators and instructors who focus on making it accessible for programs involved in the process,” said Angela Barnes, OkCTEEC president and coordinator of the Student Success and Opportunity Center at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “OKCTEEC Making It Work Day is a day to tip our hats off to our business partners for providing their valuable services and supporting our vision and purpose. It is a great day to let our state leaders, legislators and Oklahomans see the faces of those who go over and beyond at making a difference in our state.

“Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council is an organization devoted to equity in education and employment for disadvantaged groups. I can’t emphasize it more. We are dedicated to providing real-life experiences for our students, developing leaders and maintaining relationships within communities.”

OkCTEEC’s purposes include promoting and supporting career and technology education, increasing its effectiveness, promoting research in the field and in educational equity, developing leadership and advocating for equity and diversity.

For more information about OkCTEEC, visit For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, visit

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