When cuts to education threatened to eliminate a woodshop class at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, one dedicated teacher refused to take it sitting down. Mr. Howell Jackson, armed with his knowledge of woodworking and his passion for his students, was determined to fight the impact of the cuts by creating a way for the class to make some cuts of their own. Jackson set up a class project to build a saw mill for the school.
The saw mill class project would enlist the students to contribute to building a tool fundamental to the craft of woodworking while creating a unique, hands-on experience. Not only was the class able to counter some of the budget cuts and keep the class alive, but they also finished something significant they could be proud of.
Jackson told local news reporters, “I enjoy seeing students succeed and the only way they can succeed is if they have material to complete the project.” The construction of the saw mill has generated a new found love for the craft of woodworking and a sense of purpose in many of the students. When looking at the projects around the shop, Jackson says proudly, “I didn’t build this. Students built this.”
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