former Telecom student posing with celebrities

Standout Telecom grad Steven Wilks has been selected to be profiled by the Virginia Department of Education as one of their "Career Success Stars."

The VDOE highlights former Virginia CTE (Career and Technical Education) students who are enjoying success in a career in their industry. Seventeen different career fields will be featured, with Wilks representing Arts, A/V Technology and Communications. 

Wilks is a 2005 graduate of Menchville High School and Telecom who has earned three Emmy Awards for his work at Entertainment Tonight in Los Angeles. He is currently a news producer for Access Hollywood.

Telecom Supervisor Ray Price, who was Wilks' TV production instructor, submitted his name for the program, and called his former student to notify him that he had been selected.

The VDOE production team interviewed Wilks on camera in early December in L.A., at his office on the Universal Studios Lot. They also shot lots of B-roll [supplemental video] for the package, Wilks said via email.

"I feel honored that Mr. Price recommended me and that I was chosen," Wilks said.

"What I hope students take away from this," he said, "is it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you have a dream, go for it because you will never hit bullseye unless you take the shot."

Wilks visits the Telecom Center when he is in the area, and gives this same encouragement when speaking to Telecom classes.

"The journey won’t be easy," he said, "but don’t give up, either."

Price, who has been with Telecom since 1992, is proud of his former students.

"I'm constantly updating a huge list of our graduates who have left NNPS Telecom, graduated college and gone on to become successful in the field of video and communications," he said.

He remembers taking Wilks to the SkillsUSA National competition, which Wilks qualified for in the "Live-on-Site" category. He has kept in contact with his former student and VDOE CTE Star for nearly two decades.

"I remember visiting him in Los Angeles in 2017 when he was producer for "Entertainment Tonight," said Price. "He showed my family and me the ET facilities and studios and gave us the red carpet tour of the CBS lot."

"I have been in this field for 38 years," Price added, "and have met many obnoxious, loud, egotistical individuals. What I truly love about Steven is that even with all of his success and Emmy Awards, he is still the most respectful, humble and positive person he was as my student in Telecom."