Industrial arts class a slice-of-life experience
Parachute – Speaking in a six-inch voice in Michael Cain’s industrial arts class is impossible.Saws screech, hammers pound and occasionally, kids or, in this case, Cain, need to yell instruction to someone across the room.”If the machine is sick go find another one,” Cain yells to a student standing at a broken machine with a hopeless look on his face.Cain has taught industrial arts at Grand Valley High School in Parachute for 16 years. Industrial arts teaches students how to construct objects by using tools, wood and metal.He runs his classroom like he would a job site, requiring students to clock-in and help each other with projects.
Each year he designates two foremen – older students in his advanced industrial arts class – to guide younger students. He also has two aids who track students’ progress and help teach a two-week safety course.After completing the safety course, students learn to build a variety of things including jewelry boxes, name plates and tool boxes.Dylan Lindauer, 18, who is one of Cain’s advanced students, used a router to create a cowboy hat and boots on a wooden chest that he built. He also made custom handles and is now working on a gun case.Not all of Cain’s students want to pursue a career that uses industrial arts, but Lindauer plans on opening his own shop when he graduates from high school.Whatever their future goals, Cain wants his students to be prepared for the real world, so he frequently talks to the owners of construction companies.”I ask them, ‘Guys, what kind of kids do you want us to turn out?'” Cain said.Owners always ask for reliable, hard-working, responsible kids. Cain gives them a little more than they bargain for.
Before starting a project, students have to estimate what materials they need and how much it will cost to finish the project.Then they compare costs between lumber yards to look for the best deals, Cain said.”This is basic knowledge they’ll use their whole life,” Cain said. “They learn to read blueprints and read measurements. That comes in handy even if all they ever use it for is buying new carpet.”Students follow a general list of requirements that differ between levels of advancement. One requirement that all students must fulfill is a community service project.Nicole Loschke, 17, built bookends for a summer reading program at the library.”This really teaches you that the community supports you, so you need to support the community,” Loschke said.
Danny Manzanares, 15, made hall passes for Grand Valley, and Lindauer made a sandbox for the preschool.Unlike other art classes in the district, Cain’s class has withstood budget cuts. The classes’ popularity, Cain’s enthusiasm and the invaluable skills learned in the class kept the class alive, the students said. “The neat thing about this is so many kids do great work,” Cain said. “I just get them in the door and they go from there.”Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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