A Framework for Success for Carpentry Student

Deonta' Martin

Deonta' Martin is one of the lead carpenters on the University of Delaware's $80 million new athletic center. With such responsibility, you might think Deonta' was a professional carpenter with years of experience in his field. But he is only 20, a young man from a troubled and impoverished neighborhood who is set to graduate from Williamson in 2021.

How he got to where he is today is testament to the work ethic and professionalism he has been fine-tuning at Williamson and the potential that a community center saw in a young boy who was tempted by his peers to take a wrong direction in life.

Deonta' came to Williamson with considerable carpentry experience. He also was helping to provide for a mother on disability. Early on, his parents split and she struggled to raise three of the children on her own.

Deonta' showed promise at an early age. At 12 years old, he got a grant-funded job as a camp counselor at Kingswood Community Center, which is well known for its service to the disadvantaged community of Riverside in northeast Wilmington. "If I hadn't found Kingswood, I would've ended up like the kids I used to hang out with—in jail or dead," Deonta' says.

Deonta' came to be celebrated as a positive role model in a community scarred by gun violence. His is the face featured on an inspirational wall mural at the Kingswood Community Center.

In his junior year at Howard Technical High School, Deonta' got a part-time job with Specialty Finishes. The construction firm was rebuilding the high school; as part of the arrangement, they hired school tradesmen to help with the project.

Deonta' was seen as "eager and smart" by his supervisor and the seasoned carpenters who embraced and mentored him. After the summer, Specialty Finishes hired him full-time, with the high accommodating him by scheduling his academics first thing in the morning.

At graduation, Deonta' was torn between pursuing a college degree at Williamson or continuing to work full-time and help his mother. With the advice and support of Jim Magner, General Superintendent of Specialty Finishes, and several work mates, he chose to get his degree first.

Throughout Williamson, Deonta' has continued to work part-time for Specialty Finishes on his days off and summers. Mr. Magner has observed Deonta's personal and professional growth at Williamson. "His skill levels are much higher and his overall integrity is off the charts. Whatever they are doing there at Williamson is working!"

Deonta' enters his senior year with admirable accomplishments. He has made Dean's List both Fall and Spring semesters last year, been inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Society and received the William J. Yearsley 4W1 Award from the Sons of the American Revolution-Philadelphia Chapter. Deonta' is the Joan and Will Abele Family Scholar, an honor he has held his junior and senior year at Williamson.

Support from friends like you make it possible for students like Deonta' to attend Williamson with a full scholarship. Contact Arlene A. Snyder, CFRE at 610-566-1776, Ext. 246 to see how you can help us prepare the next generations of Williamson Men.