DOWNINGTOWN – Seventeen carpentry students from the Brandywine campus of Technical College High School (TCHS) became the first to sit at the all-new 12-foot maple wood executive boardroom table they built for Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU). After spending hundreds of hours working on the custom table, estimated to be between $ 8,000 and $ 10,000 in retail value, these students set up the new table, which will be used by CCIU Executive Director Dr. Joseph O ‘Brien, to meet superintendents, business leaders and key partners.
The students who participated in the project come from the school districts of the Coatesville area, the Downingtown area and the West Chester area and Bishop Shanahan High School. O’Brien contacted the carpentry students at TCHS Brandywine when it became apparent that the existing conference table was not doing the job.
“In September, it became clear that we really needed a new conference table,” said O’Brien. “So rather than ordering one, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to involve our TCHS students. They did not disappoint. From start to finish they did an amazing job and delivered a top notch product. I had every confidence they would, ”added O’Brien.
According to carpentry instructor Scott Eddy, producing a well-rounded student is the mantra by which he runs his program. “All of my students are extremely competent. I really believe it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be a teacher, ”Eddy said.
“I tell my students that I don’t want them to settle down with a job one day. I want them to be estimators, managers and business owners. This is why we really stress the importance of higher education beyond TCHS. Of the 37 students in my program, I have at least 20 who are currently taking a college 1: 1 articulation course for college credits that I currently teach. People don’t always think carpentry students go to college, but it’s something we highlight and really support here. It’s something unique about TCHS, ”said Eddy.
The emphasis on college is something that really resonated with Eddy’s students. Senior carpentry students Tariq Scott and John Miller, both from the Coatesville-area school district, emphasized the importance of working on high-level projects like the executive boardroom table when applying to college. . “I think it’s important that we can demonstrate that not only do we have the technical woodworking experience, but that we’ve used it to create something of high quality,” Scott said.
Joe Kopec of Bishop Shanahan High School was so committed to the project that he showed up for the installation, even when his home school had a day off. “I arrived today even though I didn’t have to introduce myself. Maybe Mr. Eddy had something to do with it, but I wanted to go through with it. The same goes for my fellow student Bishop Shanahan Dario Raysor. He couldn’t be here today, but he texted us about it to see what all the updates are, ”Kopec said.
“This project really taught us a lot about teamwork and communication. Two different class sections spent hundreds of hours creating this board. We are all proud of what we have accomplished, ”said Kopec.
For student Miriam Sadler, an elder at Downingtown East High School, this project has helped her get a better idea of what she wants to do with her woodworking experience. “When I started at TCHS, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew I was artistic and thought carpentry would be a good outlet for it. Also, as a woman, I felt like it would be really stimulating to learn a trade like carpentry in order to have the skills to be self-sufficient and, who knows, maybe build a house for myself. day, ”Sadler said.
“It was perhaps the most artistic project I have ever done and it really confirms that I want to specialize in more artisanal types of carpentry when I go to college next year,” said Sadler.
Connor Ford, a senior from Downingtown East, saw this project as an opportunity to benefit from Eddy’s extensive experience. “The explanations and tips Mr. Eddy taught us really made this project special and insightful to me. I was previously accepted to Pennsylvania College of Technology and am currently taking advantage of the dual enrollment program for college credits while attending TCHS, ”said Ford.
“In fact, I am the first person in my family to pursue a blue collar career. So having projects like this that I can show my family is really important. I love working with my hands and I’m excited to bring all the things I learned to college and then to a career, ”said Ford.
The AM Section of Carpentry, which includes students from the Coatesville area school district and Bishop Shanahan High School, took down the previous conference table and set up the frame for the new table on Thursday, December 8. PM students, who are from the Downingtown area and West Chester area school districts installed the new table top and took away the previous table top to refurbish it.
“I am so proud of what my students have done here. They took a project from an initial meeting with the client, Dr. O’Brien, through to the design, build and installation process. And, they did it all with minimal direction from me. They used machines they had never used before to do the custom molding and they were able to use the equipment from the Automotive Collision program to stain the table. When the students signed the bottom of the board, put it in the room and received recognition from the administration of TCHS Brandywine and CCIU, it made me so proud as a teacher, ”said Eddy .
You can find more information about the TCHS Brandywine carpentry program at http://www.cciu.org/Domain/374.