Jasper High School senior finds his calling in machine tool work


Just a couple years ago, Isak Wisener wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to get out of high school. 

That indecision led Wisener — albeit it briefly — to considering dropping out of school.

Then came the machine tool program that changed everything for Wisener, a quiet, unassuming 18-year-old who’ll be awarded his high school diploma tonight from Jasper High School. 

When Wisener began taking classes in the machine tool program, he found something he said he had lacked before — a task he was pretty good at. 

Really good, in fact.

“I’m kind of opposite of most people, in the sense that I hate English, but math comes pretty easy for me,” Wisener said. 

Math, he said, is a critical part of being successful in any machine tool program. “That’s probably why this kind of work came so easy for me,” he said. 

Without the machine tool program, Wisener said high school would have been a lot more difficult.

“I kind of thought about (quitting school), but I don’t know that I would have gone through with that,” he said. “Without this program, I would have had no chance of getting a good job without a high school diploma.”

Ted Alexander, the precision tool instructor for the Jasper City School System, said Wisener is a natural in the machine tool program. 

“The first few weeks he was in here he really didn’t want to do a lot, but once he really got to working with it, it really turned him on to the work,” Alexander said. “And the thing about Isak is that he’s a perfectionist. He’ll go that extra step to make things look really great.”

And why does the work appeal so much to him?

“Machine tooling is more hands-on than just sitting in a classroom writing on a piece of paper for an hour and 15 minutes,” Wisener said. “And it’s something I’m pretty good at.”

In addition to operating the machine tool equipment, Wisener writes the programs that tell that equipment what to do. 

“Every letter of coding,” he said. “That comes pretty easy for me, because I had already taken trigonometry and have a pretty good understanding of graphs and things.”

Wisener said he’s planning to attend Bevill State Community College in the fall while continuing to master his skills in the machine tool technology field.

“He does an exceptional job,” Alexander said, adding that Wisener is the first — and only — student he’s had to be offered a job while in the program. “He’s a very intelligent kid.”

So much so, Alexander said, that Wisener has forced Alexander to up his game a bit. 

“He’s kept me on my toes a few times,” he said.