Who needs a catalog? District turns to tech ed students for elbow room

PUNXSUTAWNEY — When in the need for more elbow room for meetings and conferences in the conference room at the Punxsutawney Area School District’s Central Office, Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe didn’t look to a catalog or online: He looked to the Technology Education Department at PAHS.

Monday, the school board thanked and saluted 14 Tech Ed students for the speedy — yet quality — construction of two new tables for the conference room.

The two, four-by-eight-feet glass-covered black walnut tables took a week to plan and two weeks to build, with installation completed Monday morning. They were also rewarded with a pizza party and were hoping for a two-hour snow delay today.

Wolfe said the conference room at Central Office isn’t used for just board meetings, but other meetings and video conferences almost every day of the week. And as the school board has recently had a more active student board representative program, there just hasn’t been enough room for everyone around the former tables.

He said the cost was also right by having Tech Ed students build the tables, as the only costs incurred were for materials.

“If you look at the cost for one table that’s four-by-eight feet, it’s $1,500,” Wolfe said. “I thought, I like to have teachers and students do presentations (during board meetings), and it was a way to highlight what our kids are doing, the programs, the Weber Club, and have the kids show the work that they do.”

For years, the Weber Club has donated funds to be used to purchase top-of-the-line equipment for the district. Tech ed teacher Chad Stiteler said one would be hard-pressed to find such high quality equipment in other schools’ tech programs.

In fact, also Monday, the board approved a donation of $23,995 from the group to purchase a Roland Versa Samm printing vinyl cutter, which is used to make banners.

Stiteler, who, along with Maintenance Supervisor Phil Heitzenrater, guided the students on the project, praised the Weber Club for helping make the department what it is today.

“If we didn’t have them, some of these projects would be awfully difficult to do,” he said.

Senior Brett Boozer described the projects as “one of the most precise” he and his fellow students have ever undertaken, striving to make the new tables provide more elbow room but to also resemble the former tables.

Senior Steve Neal also pointed out that students used a laser engraver for the tops of the table legs, and that normal classwork continued during the course of the project.

Stiteler said the most important part of the project was that the 14 students who worked on it could be hired at any time for their quality workmanship and attention to detail.

“You hear people say that they are proud that they went to ‘that school,’” he said. “Tonight, Punxsy should be proud that these kids went to our school.”

The students who worked on the project, in addition to Neal, Boozer and Snyder, were Kyle Hoover, Darren Pifer, Dane James, Dan Burkett, Zach Torrell, Jared Overly, Brandon Burkett, Jesse Chiplis, Brandon Brooks, Craig Smiley and Austin Neigh.