Students earn woodworking awards

By Deborah Prescott


ESCANABA — Rogan Gravelle and Gunner Bourdeau, eighth-grade students at Escanaba Junior High School, were given awards in May for projects they made of wood in a statewide competition. Industrial Arts teacher Vic Thompson submitted the pieces into the Michigan Industrial Technology Education Society (MITES) competition on behalf of the students. There were a total of 3,892 projects entered into the state competition for 2019.

“Any student who makes a project can enter it into the competition,” said Thompson. “These students chose to enter their projects knowing that they achieved a high level of craftsmanship. Projects at the competition are judged according to craftsmanship and level of difficulty.”

Gravelle was awarded second place in the state with a pen he made on a lathe. The pen was entered in the Open division. He chose the pen from one of many options he made through the school year. Thompson allows his students to make additional projects once the student has completed required projects.

Regionally, both Gravelle and Bourdeau received a blue, first prize ribbon for their projects.

With a shaker style bedside table Bourdeau won seventh place in the state under the division of Woodworking, Furniture – 26 inches and over.

Thompson requires all eighth-graders to make certain projects in his industrial arts class.

The statewide annual competition is hosted by the MITES. It is a professional organization for industrial technology teachers and their students. This year’s competition was held at the Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Mich.

“Each year at their annual conference teachers attend professional development workshops as well as enter student projects in the state wide competition,” said Thompson.

Students submit their projects into the competition choosing the best category that fits their project. There were 14 different industrial and technical categories to choose from this year. Categories range from architectural drawing, animation, applied technology, construction trades, electrical, future teacher, graphic arts, mechanical drawing, machine shop, open, plastics, pattern making and molding, wrought metal, and woodworking. Students who take automotive repair classes have a chance to submit their projects to the MITES in April for an automotive competition.

Thompson submitted three projects from this year’s class. The third project was entered by ninth-grader Trevor Mathieson. He received an honorable mention award for his sliding lid box project.

“This is my 30th year here at EHS,” said Thompson. “I have entered student projects fairly consecutively for 20 of those years.”

Thompson teaches a total of five classes, Introductory Welding, Industrial Technology for both seventh and eighth grades and two hours of high school woodworking.