Sparks and Screws

How carpentry and welding students help around the school

Every day, students around Millard North sit in two-seater wooden benches and in old, creaky desks. Somebody has to fix them after a while, and it’s all thanks to Industrial Technology that our desks haven’t become scarce. 

Greg Dunn, who works as a skills and technical sciences (STS) instructor and is an advisor to the SkillsUSA club at Millard North, puts his students onto projects to fix any wooden appliances, furnishings, and decorations, even helping out the drama department with their broken tables. 

“Usually, our club gets called on to cut stuff out on our CNC machines, and we help guide the students through their projects and get things done,” Dunn said. “We critique their plans, and then we go from there.”

In specific years, Dunn and his students have also had exciting new projects, not just on the small-scale of the classrooms, but on the design of the school itself.

“In the past, before the school was remodeled and the big addition was added on, the principals came down to our [architecture class], giving the students the chance to brainstorm different ideas for the addition and how traffic flow would work outside. With that opportunity, they presented their ideas to the principals,” Dunn said.

Alongside Dunn’s young carpenters and architects, Wayne Trevett, who instructs all the welding classes and helps sponsor the SkillsUSA club, puts his students to work on the school’s warped metals and broken chairs. 

“We fix things, like broken chairs, and we give students the ability to learn a skill or a trade that they can use directly out in the workforce and utilize on a jobsite,” Trevett said. 

Like Dunn, Trevett is an overseer to his students, critiquing and guiding them through projects, but only as a spectator and advisor. 

“I don’t do any of it, I let the students do all of the repairs, “ said Trevett, “I have my students fix carts, benches, and band equipment for the school.”

Along with the welding  repairs and projects around the school, in class, students like Christopher Shiney work on take-home projects and learn skills that they can apply to their working lives.

“I got the hang of it, made some good beads and other stuff, and I got on top of my projects pretty fast, so now I can really make whatever I want,” Shiney said.

Along with their class-based projects, Shiney and other welding students work on whatever needs fixing in class, too. 

“I’m currently helping make a chair for the classroom and other kids have worked on things, too,” Shiney said. “It’s become a sort of hobby for me, and even if you don’t want to work as a welder, it’s a fun thing to do.”