Terrance Life is engineering his path to the future

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By Becca Owsley

Terrance Life has a mind for engineering but still has time for puppets and nature.


The sophomore is a part of a world championship competing robotics team at Central Hardin High School, participates in the puppet ministry at College Heights United Methodist Church and is an Eagle Scout.

Life participated in pre-engineering classes through Project Lead the Way and learned a lot about robotics and programming. After hearing about the robotics teams, he felt it was a natural fit.

The team won regional and state championships and will go to the world robotics competition in Anaheim, Calif.

His pre-engineering classes are his favorite in school. Robotics is a big part of that.

“I work harder building a robot than any other thing I do in school and enjoy doing it,” he said.

At church, he participates in the puppetry team by controlling the puppets, building signs, blocking lights and anything else they need him to do.

He first became involved with the ministry because his mother, one of the leaders, volunteered him.

“Even if she did volunteer me, I enjoy doing it,” he said.

The puppets give him a chance to express his faith in a creative way, he said. Kids tend to listen to puppets more closely than if he was talking on stage, he said.

His student minister Joe Bennett said Life is one of the most faithful students at the church who leads by example.

“On top of being one of the smartest high school students I have ever known, he is also very funny,” Bennett said.

Bennett said some of the times he’s laughed the hardest at the church were with Life.   

Life has been on mission trips with his church from places as close as Ohio and far away as Panama.

He left Panama with the realization that Americans incorrectly define wealth.

“When I went down there I met people who had very few material possessions yet were some of the happiest people I had ever met in my life,” he said. “This made me realize I cannot rely on material possessions to make me happy, we have to find our joy from within.”

Life’s enjoyment of nature comes form scouting. He received his Eagle Scout rank on the day he turned 15.

“The greatest birthday present I ever got,” he said.

He had to lead a community service project for his rank and chose to power wash a trailer and repair a deck for a truck chapel in Glendale.

Through scouting he enjoys hiking, camping, rock climbing, riding zip lines, repelling and knots.

“I love knots, knots are awesome,” he said.

Next year, Life will attend the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University. Out of 113 selected in the state to interview, he was one of 30 males accepted.

He will take college courses, learn how to study for college level classes and have research opportunities. He’s looking forward to new challenges to continue what he’s already learned in school from teachers who have “greatly influenced” who he today, Life said.

Gatton Academy is a residential high school which means Life will be living away from home but his mom Traci said they know he’ll do fine. She told him if it is an opportunity God gave to him then she knows he’s read for it.

“He’s a good kid with a pretty good head on his shoulders,” she said.

He doesn’t struggle academically and still has time to enjoy the things school offers, like participating in middle school plays, she said.

Life added that he often played a rodent like a chipmunk or squirrel.

“He’s trying, I hope, to follow the path that God gives him,” Traci said. “And that’s our main hope that he follows his passion.”

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Getting to know Terrance Life:
Television: “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
Movie: “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy
Hobbies: Origami art
Author: Ted Dekker
Book series: The Inheritance Cycle
Pets: A pet brick
Family: Parents, Darin and Traci Life, and one brother
Music: Contemporary Christian

To support the three CHHS robotics teams make their trip to the World Championship in Anaheim, Calif., contact team sponsor Jason Neagle at Jason.neagle@hardin.kyschools.us or 270-737-6800. For more information on the team, go to www.hardin.k12.ky.us/chhs/dept/TechEd/VexTeams/index.asp.