BROWNSTOWN — What started as a coding club at Brownstown Central Middle School led to Elijah Reynolds giving up his spring break to build robots.
Now years later, he plans to pursue a career in mechanical engineering after walking across the stage to pick up his diploma with his graduating class Saturday at Brownstown Central High School.
Reynolds found interest in a coding club at the middle school when he was in sixth grade. The school librarian, Karen Ault, received a grant from Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. to start a robotics program, and it took off from there.
“Robotics introduced me to more complex coding, 3-D printing, and it just segued to engineering and Project Lead the Way,” he said.
Reynolds’ brother, Luke, is currently in the same robotics program that he started all those years ago.
Reynolds has stuck with robotics throughout his years of high school, which also introduced other technical programs to the school.
He said the robotics team finished with achieving second place at one competition this year.
3-D printing has become a popular program at Brownstown Central High School that started Reynolds’ sophomore year. Since then, he has become the main person many other extracurriculars go to if they want something 3-D printed.
“We print all kinds of projects for different clubs or departments,” he said. “We printed a lot of the props for the play this year. Even the Shrek ears, those were all 3-D printed.”
Reynolds will attend Purdue Polytechnic in Columbus to study mechanical engineering while working at S&S Diesel Motorsport in Seymour as a mechanical engineer apprentice.
S&S specializes in common rail diesel fuel systems, engine performance optimization and electronic controls, according to its website.
Reynolds said he plans to stay at home through college and still work at S&S while obtaining his degree.
“It’s a really good opportunity to work as an apprentice for the job that I want, and they said that after I receive my degree, they would likely hire me as an engineer,” he said.
Reynolds said he enjoyed the many conversations with teacher Randy Greene over the years about cars and 3-D printing. He said his favorite subject would have to be science because it revolves around his passion for technology.
“I will definitely miss a lot of the staff, but I am excited about what’s coming next,” he said.
As for advice for the underclassmen, Reynolds said it’s important to not give up.
“Don’t give up yet,” he said. “A lot of people don’t want to take high school seriously because they are almost done, but you just have to stick with it and be ready for what comes next.”
Reynolds said thanks to his parents, David and Lacy, and his co-workers, he is motivated and encouraged every day to pursue his dreams.
The Class of 2023 is the 60th to graduate from Brownstown Central High School, and it’s the 141st class to graduate since the first commencement at Brownstown High School in 1881.
If you go
What: Brownstown Central High School graduation
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Gymnasium at Brownstown Central High School, 500 N. Elm St., Brownstown
Who: 94 members of the Class of 2023