EVERETT — Monroe homeschool teen Robert Knight, 18, found the perfect spot to hone his love for machines at Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center, where he takes precision machining as well as electronics engineering classes.
Question: You were home-schooled until you came to Sno-Isle TECH last year.
Answer: This is the first public school I’ve been to. I didn’t want to go to a school at first. After I went to the (precision machining) class, I got really interested in it and decided to come back for a second year. And the electronics, I figured I might as well take that as well because electronics was one thing I was having trouble figuring out at home.
At home, I didn’t have access to any of the machines that are in the machine shop. I didn’t really know what they were.
Q: What is it about this field that captures your interest?
A: I’ve always been interested in anything I can work with or build.
Q: What’s after school for you?
A: After school, I have a job offer doing work in a medical field. It would be installation and repair of medical equipment in hospitals. I’m still talking with them right now.
I also want to do product design — coming up with new ideas, build them and sell them. I really want to start a business.
I may go to college some day. If I did, it would be for mechanical engineering.
Q: You competed at a recent state SkillsUSA competition and were named the “Champion” for computer numerical control (CNC) turning and milling.
A: My instructor thinks I did well enough to place in nationals. In June, I’ll fly down there (to Louisville, Kentucky) for a week.
Q: Do you have siblings?
A: I’m the oldest of four. I have two brothers and a sister. We’ve all been home-schooled.
Q: What’s one thing you’ve appreciated about being home-schooled?
A: Everything you do is school work. You’re learning from everything you do. … And probably the flexibility. I could go to work during the day and learn how to work for people.
Q: You already have your GED?
A: I was 16 and a half when I got my GED. I was beyond what my parents could teach me. I didn’t stop learning — I kept on researching — but I wasn’t officially being schooled.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: Same thing I do here — build stuff, make things. I always have projects. Last summer, I built an underwater breathing apparatus. I finished it right as the waters got cold. I did a lot of research on that one so I wouldn’t kill myself.
Besides that, I also go to CrossFit Monroe. My parents started going there and they suggested I try it. My entire family goes there now. You know everyone there. It’s like a big, huge family.
Q: What’s it like at this stage of life?
A: It’s kind of exciting, because you don’t know what’s next.
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org, 425-339-3432