Blake Smith is in his third year in the electricity program at the Mayfield-Graves County Area Technology Center, working toward gaining certification and experience toward becoming an electrician.
His work ethic and intensity are part of what made the Graves County High School senior this week's Associated General Contractors Technical Center Student of the Week.
When Smith chose a trade to study, he took electricity and machine tool in his sophomore year before settling in to learn electricity.
"I just really enjoyed electricity," he said. "I like doing things with my hands, and this is getting easier for me to do."
Smith said he really enjoys running Romex, the kind of electrical wiring used in houses and shops. He has gotten Occupational Safety and Health Administration-10 certification and passed the industry certification track test last year -- the only junior in his class to pass the test.
"It was a pretty tough test, for the most part," he said. "From what I understand, across the state, there was a big drop in the number of people who were actually able to pass it. People are able to take it twice, but I passed it the first time so I didn't have to retake it."
Smith took second place last year in the SkillsUSA regional job skills demonstration competition and advanced to the state competition in Louisville.
"It was awesome; it was a great time," Smith said of the Louisville experience. "The competitions were really well-organized. It was a great experience to be a part of. I'm hoping to take part in that again this year."
On top of his studies, Smith works at an internship at Elder's Cycle of Mayfield and has a job at PSI Control Solutions of Mayfield.
Smith hopes to become an electrician apprentice through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union in Paducah, then begin a career in that field.
When he has spare time, Smith enjoys hunting, fishing and playing his guitar.
Smith is the son of Emily Morgan of Cunningham and Anthony Smith of Mayfield.
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 Ballard County Career and Technical Center, Caldwell County Regional Career Center, Four Rivers Career Academy in Fulton County, Marshall County Technical 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 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.