If one is looking for a great example of a hands-on learner, they need look no further than Liberty High School senior Sean Duncan-Day. Whether it’s setting up computer networks or working on cars, he’s an expert.
Parrish Reedy, Duncan-Day’s math teacher and school district technology director, described a few of his many skills:
“There are so many ways in which Sean is my go-to guy. Network security, assembling computers, repairing Chromebooks. Outside of school, he has a part-time job as a machinist doing metal work. More than that, he does it all with a great attitude. He helps out everywhere in school and goes above and beyond, even coming in on Saturdays.”
And for all his skills, Duncan-Day’s best quality is probably his humility. Presented with Reedy’s glowing report, he said, “I don’t deserve to be on any kind of pedestal. I try to be responsible and kind, because I believe that being kind to others will eventually come back to me.”
He’s had a desire to know how things work for as long as he can remember. When he was 7 years old, he says, his stepfather was building a computer and showed Duncan-Day what he was doing. That kick-started his interest.
“It was cool to see,” he said. “I started out by taking apart remotes, but I couldn’t put them back together. When I was 10 or 11, I got my own computer and tore it apart, but stopped when I got to the point where I was stuck.
“I got serious about messing with computers around eighth grade. I fell in love with seeing how they worked and how they were built. When I came to Mr. Reedy, I didn’t know too much and it was a huge learning curve for me. He helped me to build a computer, and the process intrigued me.
“I became his assistant during sophomore year, and as we went through things, he explained how hardware and software fit together and I knew that I could learn a ton more from him. It’s been an amazing experience for me.”
Duncan-Day’s desire to know how things work eventually translated to working on cars as he figured out that his knowledge of computers and technology could be transferred to mechanical tasks. He began his automotive work by replacing small parts and doing oil changes, but when he bought a 1987 truck, an overhaul was the logical next step.
Next fall, he plans to be enrolled in the two-year diesel/heavy duty equipment program at Spokane Community College, and he has a diesel-mechanic internship this summer with a company in Fairfield.
His long-term dream, though, is to have his own farm. He’s worked for the past two years collecting grain during harvest season, and is hoping to drive a combine this year.
It’s not surprising that this young man with a practical side looks at life in a similar way.
“I’ve had a roller coaster life growing up,” he said, “and I don’t want it to be like that when I’m older and have a family. I would want to show my son how things in life should be, and to learn with me all the things that I had to learn by myself.”
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