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Nolan Kaufman is the youngest of three boys, separated by only four years. A fifteen-year-old freshman at Meridian High School, he also attends school with his older brother (Cole, a Junior is also featured in this issue). His nineteen-yearold brother rounds out the trio of brothers and recently graduated from high school. Nolan grins and shakes his head when asked about sisters before replying, “Nope. No sisters.” One can assume his mother is significantly outnumbered by the three boys, whom Nolan says all get along and like to joke around together.

Charting a Course in the Trades and a Path Through the Woods

While Cole dreams of playing professional basketball, Nolan hopes to one day inherit the family business, Brad’s Collision Works. Brad’s was founded by his father, who has since acquired a towing company and built the company into a twelve-person operation. Nolan’s mother, Kristen, also helps run the business and serves on the school board.

Like his mother, Nolan is selfless. “I like to be there for people and have their back if they need help. I never ask for much in return. It just makes me feel good to help somebody.”


Nolan spends most of his time outdoors when he’s not in school or helping out at the family business. One of his favorite pastimes is riding his four-wheeler through the countryside. He also enjoys hunting deer using a shotgun and compound bow. While he states that his brothers never really got into hunting, Nolan first went with his uncle. He later spent countless days learning about the wilderness through his grandfather’s wisdom and guidance.


Whether indoors or out, Nolan likes to stay active and move around. He is also fascinated with history, which likely explains his ability to express perspective far beyond his years. He enjoys Mrs. Burdon’s class, sharing, “I like to see how we’ve come upon where we are now so I can reflect back on where we used to be and how we’ve come to be where we are now.”


Looking towards the future, Cole is interested in learning to pipe weld and envisions taking over the family business. “I like seeing how cars are destroyed and how they come back to life when you fix them up. I want to keep Brad’s Collision Works going, take it further, and see how far I can go with it.”


While Cole is still mentally exploring his options, he sees himself stepping into his father’s footsteps when asked to envision his future. “I think I’ll stay here and help my dad at the shop and work towards owning it one day. Just stay in the area, work at the shop and buy a house.”


Whether Nolan follows in his father’s footsteps by taking over the family business or blazes his own trail as a welder, Meridian’s growing focus on trade school preparation will ensure he’s better prepared than most. He could also take a few college-level business (or history) courses through Meridian and Shawnee College’s Fast Start partnership if he so desires.

I like to be there for people and have their back if they need help.

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