Middle Schoolers at AHS


AHS was a host to a new infestation—Middle Schoolers! Who in their right mind would allow them into our school, I would ask, other than John Weston.

The introduction of the Bell Hall at the middle school a few years ago, taking shape similar to the Catalyst and SAEJ programs at AHS, has allowed many kids the opportunity to have an alternative “hands on” learning compared to the common public school practices.

At the Bell Hall there are many options for one’s electives, one such option is woodshop headed by Andy Burt. Teaching this same subject 20 years ago before funding cuts, Andy Burt was thrilled to be able to do it again. Through woodshop he has been able to affect students positively in their studies and give an outlet for the kids to learn a useful skill and produce something. Seeing one’s own creation is a powerful thing, and permits children to gain the needed confidence to survive in school.

All the kids that Andy Burt instructs enjoy his class immensely. Those who showed great talent and dedication were then invited to go to the High School, Andy Burt said that he took the “best six” that he had to come and get this great experience. At AHS they would be able to use an extensive arsenal of tools and facilities.

While at AHS. many of the middle school kids were able to make a bowl, which was the main objective of their visit. After instruction by Mr. Weston the Middle School students were able to use the numerous lathes to start making the outline of their bowls. They began by hollowing out the middles of their blocks of wood then using a flat chisel they gave shape to their bowls. After forming the rough outline of their bowls, they sanded them down to make smooth bowls that would be latter sealed if the students choice to do so. Many woodworkers also recommend with finishing the bowl off with some steel wool that would add polish and shine, yet this technique is not instructed to beginners very often.

All students who came to the AHS’s woodshop loved the experience and the chance of getting to go the High School. All spoke of how excited they were of getting to go to high school with all the “fun things” they can do, because at the Bell Hall Andy Burt is just “FUN” and they now aren’t worried that they are going to miss having fun. In they end the middle schools students will get a beautiful bowl that they can show as a product of their great skill and hard work.