Can Woodwork Projects Benefit High School Students?
High school kids have a tendency to get into trouble. Can woodworking projects for high school keep them out of trouble? When reading an article by Mary Lisa Boose entitled ‘Knock on Wood’, I wondered if this was indeed one possible solution to an age old problem. The article describes four high school students taking a woodworking class at Ohio’s Norwalk High School. Each of the students – Ryan Ziemke, Johnie Wilcox, Eric Benton and Hannah Duncan have a different perspective on the benefits they derived from their woodworking training.
Although the school offers advanced woodworking classes, students have to start with easy woodworking in industrial arts classes. From this foundation they then work their way up. Chris Jackson, one of the teachers, says that he has noticed that the students become more confident and critical of their work over the years. The result of this is that they start paying more attention to detail, not only in the woodworking classes, but in general.
Ryan Ziemke, who is a student in one of Norwalk High’s sections of advanced woodworking classes, completed a project consisting of a small cedar chest with finger joints. Although he will not be pursuing woodworking as a career but plans to study marketing at Kent State University, Ryan feels that the skills he has gained through woodworking will stay with him for the rest of his life. Making mistakes and having to go back and correct them has taught him patience. More patience was required in ensuring that the finger joints (interlocking joints at the corner of a piece) used in the construction of the chest fit together perfectly.
The same cedar chest with finger joints was also manufactured by Johnie Wilcox. According to Johnie, the activity involved in woodworking has been good for him as he does not like sitting still in classes. He may get restless in for instance a history class whereas he is able to pay attention to detail in his woodworking projects. This has pointed him to investigate more physically active occupational directions.
Eric Benton completed a trough-style bookcase for his final project. Benton passionately describes the deep satisfaction that he feels when he has created something out of bare wood. According to him, woodworking will always be a part of his life, although he does not plan to do it as a career. Eric has plans to become a youth pastor, and teaching woodworking skills to a church youth group is just one possibility of how he could apply what he has learnt here later on.
Hannah Duncan decided on doing a very ambitious project – a roll-top desk. She feels that woodworking allows her to create with her hands and this for her means taking a break from intellectual learning. Woodworking therefore allows her ‘get out of her head’ not being absorbed in compulsive thought but rather to be in the present moment. This highlights the spiritual benefits that can be derived from woodworking.
These four Ohio high school students have each taken unique benefits from their woodworking class. There is no doubt that it has been beneficial to each of them albeit in different ways, and could do the same for many others. Although specific woodworking projects for high school students were mentioned here, there are many more articles that are suitable for this level of skill and expertise.
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