Freddie Roy is a 69-year-old farmer who has also been a bus driver with Russell County Schools for 44 years. Now, thanks to his grandson, he’s trying something completely new — being a college student.
Freddie and his 21-year-old grandson, Kaleb Roy, are both students at Lake Cumberland Regional College and Workforce Center taking welding classes with Somerset Community College.
The senior Roy says that he “probably wouldn’t have never come” to the training if his grandson hadn’t asked him. Now both say they are enjoying their classwork, their time together, and are learning new skills.
“They started the same night, February 8,” said SCC adjunct instructor Bruce Johnson, who is also an instructor at the center. He noted that the coursework is that of “a regular college class.” The 12-week training meets two nights a week for four hours and successful students will earn a certificate.
Kaleb, a 2019 graduate of Southwestern High School, says he took welding at the Pulaski County Area Technology Center but “got a late start and didn’t get to finish all my classes.”
Still, as a farmer and demolition derby enthusiast who travels across the county, he has continued to weld. He said that when the Russell Springs class was announced, “I wanted to further my education. You can never have too much.”
It was soon after that he got the idea of inviting his granddad, a self-taught stick welder, to the class.
Freddie has been welding “his whole life,” according to his grandson. The elder Roy even has a hobby of welding unique lamps and making miniature farm equipment from scrap 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 over there a day or two (to show him how it worked), then when this class came up, I signed up and they needed a couple more participants to have the class,” Kaleb said.
While visiting his grandparents and “aggravating my grandma, I said, ‘We need to get him (granddad) in that class … and he’ll learn what he wants to learn with it.’”
Soon after that, grandson and grandfather were both enrolled at SCC.
“I went to ballgames, archery shoots with the rest of the grandkids and I never did go to many derbies with him,” Freddie says. “So, I said, ‘I’ll go to school with you.”
And now, both are happy about their decision.
“I’m loving it,” Kaleb says, “I wouldn’t want to go to class with anybody else … Both of us are learning stuff I knew that could be done but never thought I could do as a welder. I’m learning it and he’s learning it too.”
Freddie echoed his grandson’s words about taking the SCC class. “I’ve learned a lot,” and noted that “I’m learning to MIG weld now!”