Chase Adams is in his second year in the welding program at the Four Rivers Career Academy, but don't get the idea that he's just starting out. He started welding eight years ago, when he was 9 years old.
Adams' experience and dedication to the field are why the Hickman County High School junior has been selected as this week's Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.
"I grew up around welding," he said. "My brother was an iron worker, and he and his buddy had a shop, and I started welding when I was 9. So, I've always known how to weld; it's always been a passion for me.
"(I enjoy) making other things, and as I grow as a welder, I want to work with other adults and get to know more people and branch out."
Adams said he is focused on making welding a career goal in some form, whether that's in the National Guard or other military service or as a civilian worker.
Adams has a part-time job at Kelly Well Driller in Clinton, which specializes in water well drilling. He has been there since June.
"We do service calls, drill wells, install and fix pumps and quite a bit of electrical work," he said. "I took the job at Kelly Well Drilling over the summer because I felt like it was something that was going to teach me more as a welder. I have done some welding with them, and it's helped me quite a bit."
Adams' welding instructor, Will Greer, has been impressed with the skill and willingness to learn that Adams has shown in the classroom.
"There's not much he can't do," Greer said. "He can weld in all positions with both processes. We've built some custom barbecue grills and things like that."
Adams is the secretary of the technical center's SkillsUSA program and serves as the vice president of the Military Club. He is also a graduate of the Hickman County Chamber Leadership Program and earned the FFA Green Hand Award.
In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his family. He is also on the grounds crew for his church, Second Baptist Church of Clinton.
Adams is the son of Lisa Dodson and Doug Adams, both of Clinton.
The Four Rivers Career Academy is at Fulton County High School and services students from Fulton County, Fulton City and Hickman 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 Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, 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, Marshall County Technical Center, Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, Murray-Calloway County Area Technology Center and the Paducah Area Technical Center.
At the area technical centers, students are learning skills in areas such as welding, electricity, carpentry, 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.