This is the first year for the Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center to offer classes in electrical technology, and Calloway County senior Jesse Rains went right into it, with career aspirations of working in electricity.
That determination and his ability to learn quickly helped Rains earned this week's Association of General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.
"My career plans, hopefully, are to become an electrician, particularly commercial -- maybe join a union," he said. "I really like the aspect of knowing that whenever you flip that switch and the light comes on, knowing that was all you doing that. There are so many things that can go wrong; it's kind of magical seeing that happen.
"I really enjoy it: Putting it all together and making sure the receptacle works, the lights -- it's just awesome."
The class, led by instructor Ron Thompson, is working on circuit boards and mapping out circuitry for building interior electrical receptacles. Rains said he wished the classes had been available before his senior year.
"Trust me, if (the electrical technology classes) were here earlier, I definitely would have hopped on it as soon as I could," he said. "I really enjoy it. I'm just glad that they were finally able to offer it this year."
Rains had no prior experience in the electricity field, and said he had a couple of expectations about technical center classes that were blown away from the first day.
"I didn't figure it would be this organized," he said. "It definitely exceeded my expectations."
Thompson, who has worked in the electricity field for 17 years, said that Rains is an exceptional student in the course, which boasts 57 students in four classes this year.
"He's just a good student, all the way around," Thompson said. "On Day 1, he came in an introduced himself to me and said, 'I want to be an electrician.'
"We're learning electrical theory almost every day, which does involve mathematics. We're also learning how to put in a three-way switch and a four-way switch in a house."
Rains said he hopes to gain an electrical union apprenticeship after graduation or perhaps take classes at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
In his spare time, Rains enjoys hunting and fishing. He is an honor roll student and works part-time at Pagliai's restaurant in Murray.
Rains is the son of Leigh Kirks of Almo and Johnny Rains of Benton.
The Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center is on Johnny Robertson Road and services students from Murray and Calloway County high schools.
A story featuring the AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week will run in The Paducah Sun each Friday through March 27 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 Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center, this year's 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are chosen from the Ballard County Career and Technical Center, Caldwell County Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center and the Paducah Area Technical Center.
At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in areas such as electricity, carpentry, welding, machine tool, industrial maintenance and automotive technology that will help them join the workforce upon graduation and help fill the need for skilled workers in the area.
A banquet will be held in April to honor the Technical Center Students of the Week and to name technical center and overall Students of the Year.