Freddie Roy is a 69-year-old farmer who has also been a bus driver at Russell County Schools for 44 years. Now, thanks to his grandson, he is trying something completely new – to be a college student.
Freddie and his 21-year-old grandson Kaleb Roy are students at Lake Cumberland Regional College and Workforce Center and attend welding classes at Somerset Community College.
Elder Roy says he “probably would never come” to training if his grandson didn’t ask him. Now they both say they are enjoying classroom work, time together and learning new skills.
“They started the same night, February 8,” said SCC assistant instructor Bruce Johnson, who is also an instructor at the center. He noted that the course is a “regular college class.” The 12-week training takes place two nights a week for four hours and successful students receive a certificate.
Kaleb, a graduate of Southwestern High School in 2019, says he graduated in welding at the Pulaski County Area Technology Center, but “started late and didn’t have time to finish all my classes.”
Despite this, as a farmer and demolition derby enthusiast who travels across the region, he continues to weld. He said when the Russell Springs class was announced: “I wanted to continue my education. You can never have too much.”
Shortly afterwards, he had the idea to invite his grandfather, a self-taught welder, to class.
According to his grandson, Freddie welds “all his life.” Elder Roy even enjoys welding unique lamps and making miniature farm equipment from metal parts. Then, last summer, he bought a more complicated MIG welder and asked his grandson to teach him how to use it.
“Well, I went there for a day or two (to show him how it works), then when that class came, I signed up and needed a few more participants who would have an hour,” Kaleb said.
Visiting his grandparents and “aggravating my grandmother, I said, ‘We have to get him (grandfather) into that class … and he’ll learn what he wants to learn.'”
Soon after, both grandson and grandfather were enrolled in the SCC.
“I went to ball games with other grandchildren, I shot a bow, and I never went to a lot of derbies with him,” says Freddie. “So I said, ‘I’m going to school with you.’
And now they are both happy with their decision.
“I love it,” says Kaleb, “I wouldn’t want to go to class with anyone else … We both learn things I knew I could do, but I never thought I could do it as a welder.” . I’m learning it and he’s learning it too. “
Freddie repeated his grandson’s words about graduating from SCC. “I’ve learned a lot,” he said, “now I’m learning to weld MIG!”