Parents arrived at the Northport Career Tech Education Annex at Tuscaloosa County High on Thursday to admire the creations of their rising sixth- and seventh-grade students. The students had participated in the Career Technical Summer Exploratory Camp, held in Northport and at Holt High School.
The camp, according to Terri Brewer, the Tuscaloosa County School System’s director of public relations, provided students the opportunity to learn about first aid and hands-only CPR, basic construction, machine and hand sewing, basic electricity and how to use hand tools and power tools.
The children at the Northport CTE Annex built wooden benches and learned how to use a variety of tools in the process. They even made their own furniture stain from scratch. Greer Williams, the construction framing, construction finishing and agriculture science teacher at Tuscaloosa County High, led the workshop.
“We brought these kids in for a camp to teach them some basic construction skills. The most simple skill is how to use and read a tape measure. We made sure they understood how to use that and use a framing square, we taught them how make a cut on a chop saw. The only thing I did was give them the measurements and I ripped some trim to go around the outside of it. They put every screw, made every cut, so the kids did an awesome job,” Williams said.
The students crafted a bench from pine wood, using the skills Williams taught them. Jayden Hinacay, a rising seventh-grader at Echols Middle School is one of the young craftsmen.
“First, we did the base which is the 2-by-4s right here. One of the sides was 9 inches the other was 30 inches. The legs were 16 inches each. Then we cut the planks at 12 and a half inches,” Hinacay said.
William Horner, a rising seventh-grader at Northside, said he would like to do woodwork and automotive work in the future.
“This week, we learned not to cut our boards too short. If you are going to cut something, you need to cut to the edge of the line you measured so it won’t be too short because you can always cut it shorter,” Horner said.
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Rachel Jarrell learned about using a ladder. She had never placed a ladder before and she learned you need to set the base at least 4 feet from a wall and raise it 3 feet above the top edge of what she was climbing to.
“I learned how to build, how to use a nail gun and a chop saw,” said Jarrell.
Victoria Ryan is a rising sixth-grader at Duncanville Middle School. She said, “I liked all the building and the constructing we did on the benches, the measuring and cutting and putting it together. I really liked doing the construction.”
The workshops were offered at no cost to families and were designed to help promote the career technical education opportunities offered by the Tuscaloosa County School System. For many of the children, it was a first exposure to the education and career opportunities that are a result of a technical education.