- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - James Sensel, a woodshop teacher at Hedgesville High School, has turned his student’s woodshop class into a working business for charity.

Sensel received the Frada Fine Education Grant-that he applied for last year-in order to start a student run woodworking company through the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation.

The grant is seed money to start Eagle Woodworks, where the students will design, market, construct and sell birdhouses.

The class’s goal is to construct 200 birdhouses and to have them completed before Christmas. The birdhouses will sell for $15 each or two for $25.

All the proceeds this year will go to Relay for Life. Sensel said that he chose this organization because it hits home for him. “I chose Relay for Life because my mother passed away from cancer,” he said.

Sensel said he believes this opportunity will be an excellent way for the students to receive real-life training in the methods of business in a corporate structure. “Another benefit will be learning about social and work responsibility,” Sensel said.

“It also teaches them about community service. This company would be considered to be a social corporation since all proceeds go to the higher good,” he added.

Sensel said that the class has been brainstorming ways and planning how to get all 200 birdhouses sold.

“This is like a company, so we are advertising. Mike Hornsby from Around the Panhandle donated an ad to us, we are going to go visit the rotary, we are going to visit the Chamber of Commerce and the kids are selling them,” Sensel said.

Sensel has made this a part of all his student’s curriculum this year and all students are participating in some way.

Since the idea is to create an actual company structure, interested students have submitted resumes and applied for positions throughout the hierarchy of the company such as CEO, president, vice president, etc. Sensel said he is still accepting resumes and the decision on who will hold those positions has not been determined yet.

Right now, students have been giving work assignments and each student plays a vital role in the implementation of the company and the construction of the birdhouses.

“We have everyone’s jobs written down so we know who does what. We have people who cut the actual boards out so that we can have the parts, we have people who sand each part down so that we know that it’s nice and clean, we have a couple people who assemble it, then I make sure that its puttied up so that you can’t see the nails or anything so it looks nice, and then we have people who paint them,” Philip Hill, a senior at Hedgesville said.

Each bird house is being painted pink and white to symbolize cancer awareness.

The classes are also building display stands in order to display the birdhouses at school games and events.

Hill said he believes this project will teach him and other students about all aspects of business. “We actually have people who are working on marketing as well as building and it is going to teach self-discipline because the teacher is not always here right next to you telling you what to do, how to fix something and so you are going to learn how to do it yourself,” Hill said.

“We also have a bunch of people who are working on design and actually designing the birdhouses and learning how to do that,” Hill added.

Senior Garrett Norton, explained his role in the business. “Once they (the birdhouses) are all assembled, I putty the spaces in between the nails, blow dry it for a little bit, sand them down and then move them onto the next process,” he said.

“This project has taught me quality of work and working with others. It teaches our class how to work in groups as team members,” Norton added.

Hill said that this experience and shop class in general has impacted him and has made him consider starting his own business.

“I am more into computer graphics and stuff like that… but I really do like doing stuff like this-building things and I would like to open up my own business,” Hill said.

“All together this has taught me a lot of different traits. It has taught me about measuring, so I could do my own construction work at my house, it’s actually helped me with math because you have to add different sizes and figure out how much wood you need to build a project, it’s just helped me with a lot of things and honestly it would change my decision on what I might do after high school,” he added.


Information from: The Journal, https://journal-news.net/

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