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Carving out an interest

Senior utilizes benefits of ADHD, delves into learning
Kwincie+Godfrey%2C+12
Photo Texas Photography
Kwincie Godfrey, 12

Geography, base numbers, computer science, and carpentry all have one thing in common – senior Kwincie Godfrey has an interest in each of them. Kwincie’s ability to hyperfocus and delve into a topic allows him to explore ideas and concepts at a level most people never even think about. In December of 2022, he began to explore spoon carving as several members of his family have worked with carpentry on their farm, and he found it to be a good way to help him engage his hands and brain in a way that focused his ADHD.

“I like carpentry; it’s one of the weird obsessions that I have,” Kwincie said. “I lack the skills for the artistic parts of carving, so I like going in the direction of something with a purpose instead as it gives me something to aim for.”

Kwincie has always enjoyed random hobbies and enjoys studying different topics, so carving spoons seemed like a natural fit.

“When Kwincie started carving spoons, we did not think much about it because that is typical Kwincie,” Kwincie’s mother Lanette Godfrey said. “He is passionate about working with his hands and perfecting his skills in a multitude of ways.”

Although Kwincie has a passion for working with his hands on new projects, he sometimes struggles with focus because of his ADHD. 

“There are a couple of things that when I do them, my thinking isn’t all over the place,” Kwincie said. “I’m still thinking when I’m doing carpentry, but it’s more peaceful and unified because it gives me something to do with my hands that occupies a part of my brain.”

Mrs. Godfrey said that he has always thought outside the box and approached problems creatively.

“It seems that working with his hands allows him to try out different approaches and see their effects on a product or task,” Mrs. Godfrey said. “It allows him to use his abstract thinking skills. Kwincie loves to look for new and abstract ways to do things that are better than ways he has tried or seen before. Having a hobby allows him to go through this process, even if he does not finish his project.”

Kwinicie’s mom said that she’s aware that he is mature beyond his years and wants to be successful at everything he does. She said that he wants to understand why he failed and then improve. Carpentry helps him do that each time he picks up his tools.

“I sometimes get hyperfocused on things that I am passionate about,” Kwincie said. “Carpentry has the unique ability to let me think about other things in a linear way that unifies my thoughts.”

Kwincie’s mom has watched him develop a wide range of interests and hobbies over the years because of the way he thinks and approaches life.

“Kwincie can sit and have a conversation with anyone about anything and be completely knowledgeable in that subject,” Mrs. Godfrey said. “In general, he likes to learn. He likes to know the why and how behind everything. This makes him extremely passionate about so many things – geography, building/construction, aquaponics, computer science, and more. He spends time studying, trying, and learning about different things so that he better understands them.”

Kwincie’s teachers have watched him learn to use his ADHD positively in their classrooms.

“Kwincie is very energetic and has a lot of passion and energy,” IB history teacher Kristen Runyen said. “In my class, he has found ways to multitask and work on computer science and my class at the same time. That seems to work for him.”

Though Kwincie’s ability to multi-task and hyperfocus can work in his favor, it can become a stumbling block too if he is not careful.

“His passion can be a double-edged sword,” Runyen said. “Whenever he is working on something that he is interested in, he wants to know a lot about it, so he will ask a lot of questions, but it can sometimes get him really focused on something and away from the bigger picture. It is really interesting how he connects things to our history class. In the final review, there was a question that asked to compare different amendments or programs over time and he literally combined his interest in computer science and my course to make a tree diagram that compared and contrasted every potential answer to the question.”

Kwincie’s parents have taught him to acknowledge and understand his ADHD and see it as a characteristic instead of letting it define him, as they have encouraged him to use it as a way to explore his interests.

“There are times when his ADHD prevents him from going through this thought process, making him prone to duplicating mistakes, and frustrating him when said duplicate mistakes are made,” Mrs. Godfrey said. “We have taught Kwincie that ADHD can be seen as a reason for certain challenges that he may encounter, but he knows and understands that his ADHD is never to be used as an excuse. His ADHD makes it much more difficult for him to focus on a single task, so oftentimes his projects, like his spoon carving, are well-planned but sometimes not even started and rarely fully finished.”

Even though many of Kwincie’s projects frequently go unfinished, he has been able to find success in how he approaches projects. 

“I’m not a big fan of finishing and sanding the projects, so I like to do the fun parts like carving and not really do anything after that,” Kwincie said. “I like to create cool designs and start with that part, but sometimes it doesn’t go beyond that, and I’m okay with that.”

Over the years, Kwincie said that a lot of the things he has found interesting and spent his time on were not very productive and made him feel bad about spending so much time on them; carpentry, on the other hand, has not been that way. 

“Carving the spoons is inherently productive, so I don’t feel guilty for doing it,” Kwincie said. “Carpentry helps me focus.”

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