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Senior Spotlight: Hands-on learner says he loves the outdoors
Kole Kellison, a senior at Coupeville High School, is the youngest son of Ray and Christy Kellison, who own the Keystone Café at the Coupeville ferry landing.
The family moved to the Admiral’s Cove area about six years ago from Bend, Ore.
“It was a positive move for our family,” said Kellison. “Coupeville is full of friendly people.”
Kellison’s mom Christy is president of the Coupeville High School Boosters Club so he often helps her out with club projects, such as setting up for the recent MusselFest.
After graduation, he said he expects to spend the summer commercial fishing.
“My brother’s going to be gone for a while this summer, so I’ll fill in for him and see if that’s what I want to keep doing,” said Kellison.
Kellison has experience commercial fishing with his dad in Alaska, and also does crab and shrimp fishing locally for commercial purposes.
At CHS, Kellison plays goalkeeper for the soccer team, which is just starting their spring season. He played both defense and offense on the school’s football team, and played basketball too until a shoulder injury sidelined him.
Kellison’s senior project is restoring a 1960s vintage moped, which he earned in a trade for mowing someone’s lawn 20 times.
Main Street Collision offered him shop space and expert advice on the project.
“I’m really thankful for the help Main Street Collision has given me with the moped project, especially Scott Brown and Phil Black.
They helped me learn to be organized when I was taking it apart so I’d be able to put it back together again right,” said Kellison.
For his senior project, Kellison will do a PowerPoint presentation showing the steps of the restoration process and a project analysis.
His project also required him to use welding skills he acquired in Tom Eller’s metal shop class at CHS.
“Mr. Eller has been really inspiring to me,” said Kellison. “He challenges and encourages the kids in his classes.”
Kellison was among the students whose names are placed on a plaque at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse commemorating the community’s involvement in restoring the lantern house to its original specifications.
Students at all three Whidbey Island high schools participated in the project, which was completed June 2012.
With technical support and materials from Nichols Brothers Boats and community donations, the Lantern House project kept all three high school metal shop programs going for over 18 months.
Kellison attended the installation and dedication of the new lantern house.
“It was cool to see everything we did come together and to see the community support for the shop classes. And that plaque will be there for the rest of our lives to show what we accomplished together,” he said.
Coupeville High School’s contribution was the conical roof of the structure, a challenging welding project.
“I really enjoy welding,” said Kellison. “It’s a good life skill, and I can use it if I’m working on a boat commercial fishing. You’ve got to be a jack-of-all-trades if you’re fishing.”
English teacher Barbara Ballard has also been an inspiration to him, helping him play to his strengths.
Kellison said, “She’s helped me do projects and pushes me to go farther. I did a research paper for her on Canadian farm fishing, because that relates to what I’m interested in.”
Kellison describes himself as a “hands-on” learner who enjoys the outdoors, especially camping, hunting and fishing at Fort Casey dock with family and friends. While he loves Coupeville, he sees himself living somewhere even more rural in the future.
“I like it over by Sequim,” said Kellison. “You’ve got the amenities of town, but you’re even closer to the Olympics than you are here.”