While attending Eminence Independent Schools, Ballard Metcalfe was a typical student — he worked hard, kept his grades up and was committed to helping his community.
Normal in every way. Except for graduating from the Gatton Academy and proceeding on to Princeton, where he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering two weeks ago.
Metcalfe came to Eminence in middle school and found a community that supported him and taught him how to be more than just a good student.
“The people of Eminence have given me such a great foundation in terms of how you want to interact with people,” Metcalfe said. “When you’re in Kentucky, everyone’s willing to help their neighbor, or help a stranger. So, coming from this background gave me a different perspective in helping others and understanding your roots.”
The teachers at Eminence helped him commit himself to his studies, eventually leading to his enrolling in the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in his junior year, Metcalfe said.
The Gatton Academy, based on Western Kentucky University’s campus, is a two-year program for high school juniors and seniors.
Students live on campus and study advanced courses in an effort to help them with the transition to college life. They graduate with 60 hours of college credit, meaning that they’re already ahead of the game when they get into higher education.
Metcalfe credits his time at the Gatton Academy for easing his transition to Princeton.
“Gatton was almost a perfect step, going from Eminence to Princeton,” he said. “You were there on a college campus, you were taking more advanced classes.
“You had people who were there checking up on you. You had a curfew. So there were lots of these safeguards that they had, that you would’ve had at home, but then there’s also the advanced classes and the new schedule that you get at college.”
Metcalfe’s time at Princeton helped him broaden his horizons, he said. He learned more about the world as a whole and exposed himself to different cultures.
He said that he settled on Civil Engineering when he was at the Gatton Academy and found that he enjoyed the work.
In addition to engineering, he took courses in Chinese.
Metcalfe hopes he can use his education to find a job that allows him to give back to the world as a whole, he said.
Metcalfe added that he hopes to work by designing roads and bridges and improving infrastructure.