Teacher, mentor hosts Youngiefest
Joe Young continues to celebrate his dedication to craftsmanship.
Young gathered his former students May 18 at Victor Talotta Park, 5185 Dewey St., Cementon, for Youngiefest, a reunion of sorts.
Young was orphaned at age 7 and went on to graduate from Tamaqua High School in 1959. He graduated from Stevens Trade School for Fatherless Boys in 1964. He went on to establish his supremacy in trades. After a stint with M&M Candies, he began teaching at Upper Bucks County Technical School.
“At that time, if you had experience, they allowed you to teach with the understanding that you’ll get your degree in 10 years. I got that done,” he said.
After Upper Bucks Vo-Tech, he continued teaching at South Mountain Middle School, William Allen Vo-Tech and finally settled at Lehigh County Vo-Tech, now Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, for 29 years. After his retirement in 2000, he continues teaching machine shop courses at local colleges.
“In 1971, I started to send one or two students every year to Lutron for 30 years,” he said. “They all have good jobs and contribute to society.
“Lutron has positions that go begging because no one wants to work with their hands,” Young said. “These jobs require that a technician think and adapt. High school pushes students to go to college instead of finding out their passion and how to contribute to society.”
Patrick Mazziotta custom crafted his own stump grinder before he graduated from school. He now runs a very successful tree removal business, Trees Plus.
“I’m financially independent, I set my work schedule, and I am my own boss,” he said.
Tom Pasquale parallels a similar career path as a steel erector. He set steel for KidsPeace, among other places in the Lehigh Valley.
“I don’t want to be doing anything else,” he said.
Youngiefest is an annual event. In addition, retired vo-tech teachers get together on the first Saturday of the month at City View Diner, Whitehall.
“I want to keep the monthly meetings and Youngiefest going as long as I can,” Young said, adding he likes to keep active in his retirement.
“We are bringing back manufacturing,” he said. “Americans do the job best.”
Phoenix Forging, in Catasauqua, proves the point, making cost-effective, top-rated machine components used worldwide.
Young continues to expand his influence. Lutron closed down its manufacturing plant in St. Kitts and moved it to Mexico. Simba Warner, a native of St. Kitts and another Youngie student, tapped into Young’s expertise and picked up components to start a local machine business.
“This will give the local people access to technology that can improve their lives,” he said.
Young plans to head down to St. Kitts to assist in setting up Warner’s machining business.
(Part two of this feature will appear in the July 4 edition.)