HS Students Turn Wood into Classroom Treasures

“It’s perfect,” said kindergarten teacher Jacob Bultema who had crayons sorted by colors filling the holes.  “They did a great job.”

High school woods teacher Matt Melvin said the woods production class challenges students to mass produce a simple wood project, market it and then sell the product. It’s a hands-on lesson about the cost of production, profit and loss margins and finding ways to keep overhead costs low enough to be profitable.  In some cases, students opt for a project where the profit is measured only in gratitude of the receivers.

“I think it’s good for them to give back to the schools in some way,” said Melvin.

This year, six students made 33 of the crayon holders – nearly all of them personalized with the name of the elementary teacher engraved in the wood with two TK Trojan heads on either side. Using a drill press, students bore out seven large holes in the top of the holder – perfect for organizing crayons, markers, pencils or other classroom supplies.

Before Thanksgiving, the high schoolers loaded up their finished products and delivered the goods to very appreciative McFall teachers.

“It was a great thing for them to do this for the elementary teachers,” said Lauren Heth who is using hers to store markers.

Jessica Thaler said her students were very excited when the delivery was made. “My students were so excited. They all thought it was really great.  The high school students did such a good job making these.” Her holder was filled with clothespins and markers, pens and other items.

This isn’t the first time the woods production class has given back to the district. Last year a group of high school students made and sold Christmas ornaments. But they took the project a step further by making enough ornaments for one classroom at McFall and then helping the younger students assemble and decorate the holiday treasures to take home and adorn their own trees.

For several years, the woods classes have also made wooden rocking toys and given them away to families in the community. Over the years, nearly 300 wooden toys have rolled out of the woods class assembly and into the homes of eager young children.

Melvin said he believes it is important for students not only to learn about how to make items in the woods classes, but also to use their talents to give back to others.

“It was pretty cool when we delivered the holders.  The kids were happy and we even got hugs from some of them,” said high school woods student Augustine Abshagen. “I’m happy we were able to give something to them.”