Ava Simunovic ’20
As the second bell rings, students scramble into their classrooms and grudgingly take a seat. Laptops are whipped open, mechanical pencils are pulled out and crumpled homework is scavenged for at the bottoms of bags. But for a select few at Staples, their class period consists of something quite different. These students replace pencils with saws and laptops with wood. They push aside their homework and instead dress themselves in gloves, goggles and aprons. These students are none other than the “woodshop” kids.
Technology Education is unlike the common courses offered at Staples. It encompasses a whole new set of skills and techniques unfamiliar to most. “Students are required to learn all of the functionality of the laboratory power equipment, power tools and hand tools,” Technology Education teacher Michael Sansur said.
The projects are always hands-on, fostering an engaging environment. “I enjoy getting to work with my hands after sitting at a desk all day,” Emerson Anvari ’20 said. “In other classes we just learn, write and listen, but for this we get to build stuff and express ourselves.”
The structure of the class fuels independence. “It is more free formed than other classes, so you can choose how you want to do things and you can express yourself better,” Kevin Lindwall ’20 said.
While the class is more freelanced than most, there are structured units embedded within it to teach students how to make more advanced projects. “Depending on the unit, we will either have free build, where we can build anything we want to, granted we can do it in the shop,” Lindwall said. “Then there’s other structured units where you learn how to build things like wind turbines.”
This semester students were able to take apart and rebuild small gas engines, build architectural house models while working with electrical applications and experiment with turbine designs using a metal lathe and wind tunnel. In addition, students also learned how to troubleshoot and repair outdoor power equipment.
Sansur believes that what students take away from the course is extremely beneficial and rewarding for the future. “Those who may have the mindset that college is not for them come to realize that components of the class can be further pursued via certain programs of study in some colleges or technical school, which can lead to apprenticeships or industrial or STEM career paths,” Sansur said. “The class teaches practical skills that students will use outside of the classroom in their everyday lives.”
Although Anvari does not see himself continuing Technology Education outside of high school, he believes the values he was taught in the class will carry with him. “I don’t think I’ll go on to necessarily pursuing a tech-ed career,” Anvari said, “but the skills of creativity, craftsmanship and problem solving will serve me well in life with whatever I do.”