Constructing a passion

Junior Cade Ivy (left) and his twin brother, Sam (right), work in science department teacher William Swain’s room on April 12. Ivy is interested in mechanics and spends a lot of time working on engines in his free time. “If I was as interested in school as I was about this, I’d actually have good grades. Well, I’d have better grades,” Ivy said. Photo by Aneesa Conine-Nakano.

Update: The ODYSSEY Media Group will provide viewers with weekly stylized profiles that center on people in the Athens community telling their own stories.

By JOHANNA HALL – ODTV Executive Producer

Junior Cade Ivy repairs things — at first engines, and more recently, hydraulic pumps. For years, he has loved doing this, and he hopes to continue in years to come.

In the back left corner of science department teacher William Swain’s room resides a miniature workshop. Engine parts are scattered across the back counter of the room, where the owner of this workspace spends some of his time during and after school working.

He is calculated and cautious with his machine parts — his grease-slicked fingers gently remove worn pieces from older parts and replace them with shiny, new pieces that contrast the tint of age covering the older hydraulic pumps.

He picks up an older hydraulic pump from the counter, figuring out the best way to remove the rusted part.

Standing 6’2” with long arms, stern eyebrows, soft eyes, and an intrinsic work ethic that never wavers, junior Cade Ivy loves to tinker and to fix.

Cade removes the old part from the pump, and picks up its shiny, new replacement.

As he works, the hint of a farmer’s tan can be seen under the sleeves of his T-shirt. This tan tells a story of how Cade spends his time outside of school. Instead of watching Netflix or spending hours on social media, Cade works outside.

Whether it be mowing lawns for his business with his twin brother Sam in the summer, or fixing lawn mowers for the Clarke Central High School JROTC colonels, Cade likes to stay under the sun.
He tries to put the new part on the machine, but it’s not an easy fit. After a few more tries, he pauses, surveying both the pump and the replacement.

Cade never backs down from a challenge, especially when it comes to mechanics. The satisfaction of taking an engine apart and putting it back together is a feeling Cade lives for.

“I find this stuff fascinating. Just the satisfaction of running through this and having it work. It’s instant gratification to take that apart, see the problem, put it back together — it works, and it’s really satisfying,” Cade said.

But this hobby, passion and potential career for Cade wasn’t predestined. Other than his brother, no one in his family is as interested in, or knowledgeable about, mechanics as Cade.

He seems to figure out what’s blocking the compatibility of the new piece with the part. He knows what he needs to do, and delicately adjusts the pump to fit the new part.

This mechanic is self-made. YouTube and car manuals were his teachers, and Cade was a committed, diligent student.

Now, Cade has a small business of fixing broken hydraulic pumps and selling them on eBay. Observing his repaired pump, he smiles as he describes his repair process.

After high school, he plans on joining the United States Army Reserves to work on helicopter engines. But wherever life takes him, Cade hopes he can continue doing what he loves — fixing.

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