Sheri Samson
Makayla Lane works on her doll house project under the watchful eye of teacher Vic Montoya.

In a room full of electric saws, drill presses, hand tools and nail guns, one can find junior high and high school students working independently on their own woodworking projects during class time, under the direction of instructor Vic Montoya.

“These projects are happening by the generous donations coming from this community,” Montoya shared. “My student, Matthew Castro, was instrumental in his family donating stacks of high grade wood, along with buckets of hinges and hardware pieces, which gave an opportunity for my students to begin building some pretty creative things.”

With careful oversight, 7th grade student Mason Buchner began building a large, 3-piece bike ramp, while 8th grader, Ayden Black cut out large wooden pieces in framing a solid dog house. Eighth grade Makayla Lane took on an intricate project by creating a two-story doll house, complete with inside furnishings and various stairwells.

“I like creating things and crafting, so this doll house idea was a chance to learn the tools in woodworking and I got to come up with solutions to my design. I included a wood-chipped shingle roof, a fireplace, a back door with a ramp, ladders and stairs for each room section and I even found wood scraps to make a table,” Lane explained while showing off her efforts at a raw stage. “We hunt around for what we can use and it isn’t always easy to locate exactly what piece we need for our project designs.”

Since the classroom timeframes are limited, Lane stated this will be at least a two-month project to complete. She shared that donations of water-based paints and access to more wood building materials is needed. Lane was hopeful that more donations will come through to help the high school wood class.

“The kids try to come up with the projects that will fit the supplies we have, but when we come up short, I have to teach them to improvise,” Montoya admitted.

The woodworking classes would like to thank Michelle Haak, David Haak and Bobby Haak, for arranging their generous donation of wood and hardware, as these items have already gone toward some special student projects. Still written on the class wish list is any size of water-based paint and painting supplies such as rollers, brushes and paint pans. Also, there is still a need for wood and extra hand tools.

“I welcome extra items that can be incorporated into our classroom projects and even the donation of leftover base wood would be helpful to us,” Montoya requested. Donations can be made by calling the Mineral County High School at 775-945-3332 and leave a message for Instructor Montoya.

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