Ballard senior is part of team working on solar car


When Christian Wallace chose a workforce skill to study in his freshman year, he knew exactly which one he wanted.

The now-senior from Ballard Memorial High School finds himself in his fourth year in the industrial maintenance program at the Ballard County Career and Technical Center.

"I've always found electricity really interesting," he said. "Industrial maintenance really shows you the other side of things besides wiring. It shows you what the wiring capabilities can do."

Wallace is this week's Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.

Wallace and his classmates have been working on a solar-powered car, building the car from scrap. It will be entered in the 24th annual Solar Car Challenge sponsored by Texas Instruments in July at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

"I helped weld the entire frame together," he said. "I helped wire the whole thing and mount the suspension. I've been a part of almost all of it.

"I love working with solar energy now and showing some of the science behind it and how all of it works."

Wallace's instructor, Kevin Cope, nominated him for the weekly honor. He said Wallace was one of his top students for all four of his years in the industrial maintenance program.

"He's always been a solid A student for me and a hard worker," he said. "He's a leader out in the shop, always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

"In our industrial maintenance program, we also do real work around the school. Our maintenance department will call me if they have a project they think my kids would want to do. For example, we replaced the motor and all of the wiring for the air compressor that we have down here at the (technical center)."

After graduating from high school, Wallace plans to attend Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville and pursue a degree in industrial maintenance or auto mechanics with an eye toward getting a career in either of those fields.

"I just enjoy making something out of nothing and turning it into something that's functional," he said of his fascination with industrial maintenance.

He has earned electrical and instrumentation technician certification through the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Wallace also enjoys his classes in welding and art. He took first place in 3-D printing in the SkillsUSA regional contest last year and served as the SkillsUSA chapter secretary for three years.

Wallace works at Sam's Club in Paducah. He enjoys working on four-wheelers in his spare time.

"I usually have a few projects around the house," he said. "The joy in getting something running again that hasn't run in a couple of years is astronomical. I just love that feeling that you get."

Wallace is the son of April and Larry Wallace of Kevil.

A story featuring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week will run in The Paducah Sun each Friday through March 29 with recipients chosen by instructors and administrators at the seven area technical centers that serve students in the state's 13 westernmost counties.

In addition to the Ballard County Career and Technical Center, the 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are chosen from the Caldwell County Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center and Paducah Area Technical Center.

A banquet is scheduled for April 9 at Graves County High School honoring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week and announcing the 2018-19 Technical Center Students of the Year.

At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in areas such as industrial maintenance, welding, carpentry, automotive technology and electrical work that will help them join the workforce upon graduation and help fill the need for skilled workers in the area.

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