June 8, 2020—While many 18-year-olds spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic playing Call of Duty or MInecraft, that's just not in Alexander Pruitt's makeup.
"I've never been one of those people that wants to sit inside and play video games," Pruitt said. "I can't deal with just sitting around. I've got to be moving."
And Pruitt was a study in perpetual motion earlier this Spring. According to the Collision Repair Education Foundation, Pruitt, a senior at Mercer County Technical Education Center in Princeton, W. Va., earned 95 training certificates in the span of roughly one month.
MCTEC collision repair technology instructor Daryl Barton first sang Pruitt's praises online, noting "While we are mostly a hands-on class, during this corona shutdown, students have had to work at home. During this shutdown, Alex has managed to acquire 95 certificates to add to his portfolio.
"I'm very proud of this young man ..."
Pruitt simply tried to make the most of an unprecedented pandemic.
"When school shut down, I really didn't have anything else to do," Pruitt told FenderBender. "I figured I'd just jump into it and learn a little more."
The high school senior typically devoted 4-5 hours per night to his training, which he did almost exclusively online.
"I would mainly work on (training) later in the evening," Pruitt said. "Once my day was over and I was in the house, I'd work on it at like 8. ... I pushed myself to get them done, because it was something I really wanted to do."
The key he says, was simply carving out, and devoting time, each day to training.
"Just use your time wisely," Pruitt suggested. "Give yourself enough time to do things, and don't push it 'til the last minute and rush it. ... Then you can get them done better, and more efficiently. It's not good when you rush things."
Awfully sage advice from such a young collision repairer. Right now, though, Pruitt is working outside of the collision repair space. He currently holds down two jobs, working for a sewage plant during the week and at a retail store on the weekends. The former offers him the opportunity to attain CDLs. Regardless of what comes next, though, no one can take away Pruitt's pride for what he accomplished this Spring.
Not too many collision repair students can say they attained over 90 training certificates in the span of a month.
"My parents and my grandparents have pushed me to work," Pruitt said. "They told me, 'The only way you're going to learn things about the world is by going out and doing them.'"