OAK HILL — Editor’s Note: During the next several days, The Register-Herald will run feature stories about graduating seniors from area high schools. The series of stories has been tagged “An Eye Toward The Future.” We hope you enjoy these in-depth looks at some special young adults.
Attending Fayette Institute of Technology “completely changed my outlook on high school,” said Eli Holt, who graduated as the president of the school’s National Technical Honor Society.
“My sophomore year I was just going to high school and it was an everyday thing. I signed up for vo-tech and it’s completely different. The teachers treat you like adults. It’s more like a college campus than a high school,” says Holt, a Summerlee native.
“You have a lot of freedom and you’re doing hands-on things. ... A couple kids in my class were actually going to fail a couple classes and not graduate. Then they went up to vo-tech and it changed completely how they did in high school because they wanted to stay in vo-tech.”
Holt took Computer-Aided Design (CAD) courses at FIT, a 2012-2013 West Virginia School of Excellence. CAD is an industrial art that involves drafting and designing objects with specialized computer software.
“We can take things all the way from a piece of paper to a plastic recreation,” says Holt.
Holt just finished his senior project, in which he created computer drawings of a four-legged stand used to hold construction zone road signs.
“I took this stand apart into 20-some pieces and drew every little piece — every little spring, nut and bolt — on the computer and recreated it,” says Holt.
He says he enjoys CAD because it’s “analytical” and “very particular.”
“You have to be correct about everything,” he says.
He was also part of a group of students who helped design the parts of a lighthouse that was constructed on Summersville Lake. Other FIT students welded the parts together.
Holt was an FIT representative at the state Skills Competition in architecture, where he placed fifth despite having only taken a semester of architecture. Holt says it was invigorating to work with an actual architect on a real-life problem at the competition.
When not solving technical problems, Holt spends a lot of time on the soccer field. He has played the sport since he was 4 years old. In 2010, he had a chance to compete with Oak Hill High School at the state tournament, where they came in second place — “an extreme honor,” he said.
Holt has helped out with youth soccer as a referee and is active in his church, Sts. Peter and Paul in Oak Hill. He also loves to be outside — whether it’s rappelling, skating, rock climbing, rafting or working at Orb the Gorge.
He lives on an old farm in Summerlee where his mother grew up, surrounded by family on all sides.
He calls his older brother Ian his role model because of his determination to become a pharmacist.
“I can talk to him about everything and anything. He’s shown me that no matter what, you can do what you want,” he says.
Holt, a 4.0 student, is still figuring out what he wants out of higher education. This fall he will either attend the University of Charleston - Beckley campus for a business administration degree or Marshall University for a civil engineering degree. He’s weighing financial aid at both institutions.
His ultimate goal is to become a lawyer.
“It’s kind of funny but I absolutely love when people argue because you learn so much from an argument,” he says.
“Always keep your eyes on the goal,” he tells his peers. “Don’t back down. Aim for the moon and, who knows, you might end up in the stars.”
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