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Del Oro students get hands-on learning

Industrial arts and agriculture classes are popular at Del Oro High School
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Del Oro High School students are having hands-on experiences that don’t involve texting or video games. They’re enrolled in the school’s Industrial Arts and Vocational Agriculture classes and are learning such old-fashioned skills as drafting, woodworking and welding. The school even offers an all-girls woodworking class. Steve Paris, the instructor, said the girls complete projects “faster” and do a better job than the traditional class. Freshman Alexis Day, who lives in Granite Bay, has a month of class left and has finished all of her required class projects. She’s now working on a wooden rubber band gun and hopes to make a bench or patio furniture in her remaining class time. Another freshman in the all-girl class, Tori Oldham, from Roseville, explained, “My dad’s really into building things and I took this class so I could help him.” Freshman Morgan Welch, of Granite Bay, is the daughter of a pioneering mom who took woodshop when she was in high school. “My mom took it and said I should give it a try. It’s really fun,” Morgan said. Paris said woodshop “skill-wise is essentially the same” as it was when he took the class, but the projects have been updated and the classes are more structured. Paris said that each of the nine projects teaches a skill and builds on the previous project. He said students learn to us table, radial, shop and band saws. They also learn to use the lathe, planer, jointer and computer-controlled router. Sophomore Justin Hammond, of Loomis, was recently painting the jewelry box he made in class. “It’s my ‘stuff’ box,” Justin said. “This class is cool. You get to work with all of the equipment. There’s every tool you could want,” he said. Paris, who grew up in Loomis and graduated from Del Oro, is now teaching alongside instructor Jack Pchelkin. Pchelkin was Paris’ teacher back in the 1970s. Paris said that all of the shop classes are full and that the demand for the classes outweighs their availability. “We could offer more classes if we had more teachers,” Pchelkin said. Pchelkin teaches the welding and small engines classes through the agriculture department. He said the welding students bring in all of their own projects to work on. In the small engines class, they work on single cylinder engines that can be found in everything from lawnmowers to go-carts. Pchelkin said the block schedule has “helped us out a lot” because it allows a greater chunk of time to work on projects and then clean up. Students in instructor David Weld’s drafting class learn board drafting and then move on to computer-aided drafting. His classes are especially popular with students who are interested in engineering or architecture Instructors Pchelkin and Paris said that students who complete the welding and woodworking classes could get entry-level jobs in cabinet maker or metal/welding fabrication shops. Freshman Evan Forsyth, of Loomis, isn’t thinking that far into the future. “This class is pretty fun. You get to make stuff. My grandpa is a contractor and I can help him,” Evan said of his newly learned skills.