Seth Duncan is in his third year in the carpentry program at the Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, taking an activity he shared with his grandfather and building it into a career.
The Graves County High School senior is this week's Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.
"I always liked carpentry as a kid," Duncan said. "I grew up in my granddad's shop, always building on something.
"I've grown to enjoy the little things, like finish work, like framing and drywall. I used to not like that because I wasn't good at being patient, but it's slowly grown on me over the years."
Duncan has earned certification through the Tech-Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) program and the 10-hour certification through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Duncan works for Tim Blalock Construction in Mayfield when school is not in session and hopes to work there full-time after he graduates. He is also considering going to trade school.
"One thing that aggravates me more than anything is when I tell people I'm not going to college," he said. "You don't have to go to college to be a carpenter. Everybody thinks I'm going to flip burgers for a living. But when I tell them that I'm probably going to make more than them eventually, that really strikes their ears.
"My dad has been a pretty big influence on me not going to college because he went to trade school, and he's doing pretty good for himself."
Duncan is on the GCHS bowling team, which is participating in the Region 1 championship today in Bowling Green.
In his spare time, he and his friends build custom boxes for subwoofer speakers.
Currently, Duncan and other members of Kevin Hutchens' class are remodeling the locker room at Mayfield High School. They were also the technology center's contingent that helped to build beds for those in need at Starfish Orphan Ministry in Paducah last month. They joined the Marshall County and Paducah technical center groups, working together to build 50 beds.
"I loved it," he said, "and I felt good doing it. I liked the overall teamwork between all the different schools. We were building one part and somebody else was building a different part, and then everybody just put it together."
Hutchens said that Duncan has been growing into a classroom leader over the years.
"That's something I've been lacking the last few years," he said. "I've had a couple of kids who have emerged as leaders, and he's one of them.
"He's got an interest in things, and that's what it takes to do the best in the classes. You've got to have an interest in it and have a little passion about it. He's not afraid to ask questions."
Duncan is the son of Justin and Nicole Duncan of Hickory.
The Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center is on the campus of Mayfield High School and services students from Mayfield, Graves County and Carlisle 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 Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, this year's 29 AGC of Western Kentucky Technical Center Students of the Week are chosen from the Paducah Area Technical Center, Ballard County Career and Technical Center, Caldwell Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical Center, and the Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center.
At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in areas such as carpentry, automotive technology, welding, machine tool technology, electricity and industrial maintenance that will help them join the workforce upon graduation and help fill the need for skilled workers in the area.
A banquet will be at 6 p.m. April 23 at Marshall County High School to honor the Technical Center Students of the Week and to name technical center and overall Students of the Year.