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Tucson student nominated to be named as 2020-2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar

Pima JTED Construction Program
Posted at 6:46 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 13:19:09-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Kagan Barber is in the zone when he puts on his goggles and gets to work.

"Once you get everything together and it's all complete," said Barber.

That's what the high school senior described as the best part of working in construction class at Pima JTED.

"You're like 'Wow. I was a part of that,'" said Barber.

Barber has taken part in Pima JTED's construction, heavy equipment operations and drone programs for the past two years. The district offers free career and technical education courses, which are taught by positive role models, like Craig Bal.

"I actually met Kagan about two and a half years ago. He and his parents came in and wanted to see the program. Right away, he made a great first impression. I thought, 'Man, this kid is going to go far,'" said Bal.

Bal said Barber shows up to his construction class ready to work, everyday, even during the challenging days of learning from home. Because of Barber's dedication, Bal nominated him for one of the nation's top student honors.

"The U.S. Presidential Scholar is a pretty huge thing. I nominated Kagan because he exemplifies what a JTED student wants out of life. He displays it in the classroom and out in the community," said Bal.

Barber volunteers and leads several groups committed to helping Tucson's youth. He hopes to inspire kids to chase their dreams just like he is.

"The construction program really helps students further their knowledge, not only for working in the trade, but for developing professional and leadership skills. I really like that about this. You're actually using this knowledge out in the workplace," said Barber.

If chosen as a 2020-2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar, Barber could have the chance to fly to Washington D.C. and visit the White House.