Thursday, October 4, 2010
Holly High senior hard worker, focused
By SUE WATSON
Holly Springs Utility Department is growing its workforce by reaching down to top high school students and offering them summer intern work, according to general manager Don Hollingsworth.
The utility acts as a mentor to youth and asks for teachers to recommend their top students for work as interns under the utility’s wing.
Likely headed to business school at Ole Miss, Holly Springs High School senior Kenn Falkner is one of the interns at the utility. He is the son of Kent Bernard and Jackie Falkner of Holly Springs and the second born in his family.
“I am the cream in the Oreo - the middle child,” he said happily during an interview at the utility department.
His older brother, Kent E. Falkner, received his dad’s first name and Kenn received his dad’s second name, he said. His baby sister, a freshman, is named Kentra Falkner.
Older brother Kent graduated in 2004 and is training to become a truck driver like his dad, who owns Kent Falkner Trucking.
Kenn Falkner said he wants to go to Ole Miss and play in the band and calls himself a “homeboy.”
“I’ll be just 20 miles from home and I just love Mississippi,” the future business major said.
He will minor in music.
Falkner said his favorite subjects are history and science, and math and English are his second choices.
Hollingsworth said Falkner is interning in the business office because the utility needs business-minded office workers, as well as those who do the outdoor jobs.
Falkner, whose instrument is the snare drum, has played in the band since fifth grade. He also plays on the school baseball team as second baseman or left outfielder.
He has also worked with Carlisle’s Big Star in Holly Springs as a bag checker and stocker.
He finds assignments he enjoys at the utility - data entry, filing and assisting the general manager and accountant D. Miller.
His most influential teacher is Ms. Celia Underwood, who taught his 11th grade history class. This year she will be teaching his 12th grade economics class.
“She is my all-time most favorite teacher,” Falkner said. “She was born to teach.”
Falkner admires Underwood because she knows her course content by heart and does not need notes to teach.
In the area of reading, Falkner likes autobiographies like “Shooting Stars” by LeBron James - a book about several peewee basketball players who grew up to play on a team for a school in Ohio. He likes to read about the life experiences of others, he said.
His favorite movie is “Kobe Doing Work” - a documentary about NBA’s Kobe Bryant. He also enjoys “He’s Got Game” a story about a main character who is the top in the NBA who is scouted but who can’t keep his grades up. The character manages to improve his grades and gets to play college basketball for the University of Connecticut.
Hip Hop, R&B and Old School are his favorite music genres.
Falkner said he does not want to be a follower; he wants to be a leader.
“I want to lead my own path so I know where I am going,” he said.
At HSUD he admires Hollingsworth and Miller because “Hollingsworth is always on top of things to get the job done.”
Born a Scorpio, Falkner is outgoing and eager to face his future. He likes to work with his hands and his mind, he said.
His parents are his role models because they have influenced him most, he said.
When times are tough for his parents, they still are there for him, he said.
“They stay on me about grades and tell me how it is tough out there,” he said. “They were down because of the economy but they never gave up on us.”
His mother works as dispatcher and bookkeeper for his dad’s trucking company.
Falkner is a church member and attends his mother’s church - Mt. Sinai MB Church at Matthew’s Corner - and his dad’s church - Mt. Gilead CME Church on Highway 4 West.
Accounting manager at HSUD D. Miller said Falkner is a real hard worker. He and Travis Johnson are the first two high school students to be taken in to the intern program - an idea initiated at HSUD, she said.
Underwood, who is teaching both economics and government this year to seniors, said Falkner has a very high work ethic for his age.
“He’s a very nice young man and I taught his mother,” she said. “He’s an all-around good kid. He can be whatever he wants to be. He has passed all his state tests and will have no problem going to any school he wants to. Work ethic can make you or break you. That family has very high work ethics.”
Jackie Falkner called her son “a very interesting young man - a very blessed child.”
He is an outgoing person and puts his mind to learning anything he decides to try, she said.
“He jumps out of one activity into another,” she said, giving Saturday golf as an example.
Kenn Falkner took up golf the day he quit working Saturdays at Carlisle’s.
In band since age 9, he serves as a junior deacon at church and sings in the choir. He was an All-American Scholar in the fourth grade, made a 19 on his ACT at age 14, and wants to graduate with honors, she said.
Well liked by adults, Falkner has been comfortable with adults since an early age, his mother said. And he has a big heart. When taking his physical several weeks ago, he saw an elderly man who didn’t have gas money to get home, so he reached in his pocket and bought the man $15 in gas and took him to McDonald's for a cool drink because the gentleman was diabetic, she said.
“He is always comfortable with adults and is called an old young man,” she said. “He wants a challenge all the time. And he is spoiled at HSUD.”
Former employer Fred Carlisle agreed that Kenn Falkner has a bright future ahead.
“He is an outstanding young man, very friendly and outgoing,” Carlisle said. “He wants to excel and to be the best he can be in whatever he does. He worked hard and the world is wide open for people like that. He is always looking for opportunities and very active in community service work, too.”
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