Mason Cosner was a sophomore on Jan. 23, 2018 -- the day of the Marshall County High School shooting when 14 students were injured and two tragically lost their lives. Cosner was among the injured. His determination to compete in SkillsUSA carpentry competitions that year took a backseat to his need to recover and heal. The next year, however, Cosner won the regional title and took part in the state carpentry competition in Louisville.
The high school senior is now in his fourth year in the carpentry program at the Marshall County Technical Center, and he is learning electrical work as well. The determination to work and succeed along with his experience in the trade helped Cosner become this week's Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Technical Center Student of the Week.
"I like building things with my hands and working with my hands," he said.
"You can see progress in it, helping a lot of people (through carpentry). It's a trade that everyone needs people to work in."
Cosner said he and a group of students built a garage last spring, giving each of them more hands-on work experience toward a career.
Cosner is also a member of the MCHS cross country and track teams and works at Lovett Electric after school, helping to wire houses.
At the 2019 state SkillsUSA competition, Cosner discovered a competition called TeamWorks that requires a team of four builders: a plumber, a carpenter, a mason and an electrician. Together, they build a structure, wire it, plumb it and put up the brick and block on the outside. He said he'd like to compete in that later this school year.
After graduation, Cosner said he would like to join a carpenters union or electrical union and start full-time work.
"I'm planning on going straight into a job and work," he said.
Cosner's carpentry teacher, Shane Darnell, said he has known Cosner since he was born.
"He's a special student," Darnell said. "It's pretty cool to go to church with him almost his whole life and then, next thing you know, he takes your program and that's what he plans on doing for a career. That's a pretty gratifying feeling for me.
"Mason was one of the victims in the shooting, and that's why -- two years ago -- he didn't get to compete in SkillsUSA. Then, he comes back the next year and wins it. That's pretty amazing."
Cosner is the son of Brad and Christa Hall and Scott Cosner.
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 Marshall County Technical 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, 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 carpentry, welding, machine tool, industrial maintenance, 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.
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.