ELLIJAY, Ga. – More than just a saw, Gilmer High School students in Dennis Wilson Jr.’s class are enjoying the perks of a new table saw utilizing a SawStop.
According to Gordon Brewer, of the Apple Ridge Woodturners, the club was in need of a new place to meet as the fire station at which they normally met was a bit too far for some members. As they searched, Brewer stated that the school was kind enough to allow them to meet at the school. Strengthening the relationship, the Woodturners began discussing classes and mentorships for students who wished to take advantage of them.
However, discussion continued as the Woodturners began looking at the high school’s construction class equipment. Wilson spoke of the class’ table saw and issues with safety devices on the saw.
Noticing the need, the Apple Ridge Woodturners Club donated money from within the club, as well as one donation from an outside citizen Mac Logan, to provide a new table saw with several additions for the students utilizing the equipment. The entire package included the SawStop Contractor Saw with the cartridge that drops the blade below the table with any moisture, according to Wilson, who says the system works by grabbing the blade with a cartridge under the table that drops the blade under to prevent serious injury to the operator. While this does ruin both the blade and the cartridge, it holds injury to the operator to between a slight cut to a deep cut instead of possibly losing the entire finger.
The new saw also comes with a new plastic blade guard and a “writhing knife” behind the blade to separate the cut wood from pinching the blade and getting caught which could launch a piece of wood back at the operator.
Apple Ridge Woodturners President Richard Byers told FetchYourNews (FYN) that the club’s 45 members joined together for the $1,799 purchase for the construction class. Typically meeting once a month, the club has been planning since August and moving toward this week as when to officially donate the device. Byers told FYN, should the SawStop device ever be used, it would be, roughly, $200 to replace, which is comparatively cheap in relation to major injury and medical costs.
Moving into the new semester, teacher Dennis Wilson told FYN the main thing he was excited for was the safety upgrade. Stating the most common injury on such a tool is running one’s hand into the blade. Having the state-of-the-art saw helps every one of the 100 students in the shop daily.
“It’s huge,” said Wilson, who commented about constantly being asked by community members who are seeking students who are trained and ready to join construction jobs. Noting the help he gets from the community, Wilson hinted at future projects to return to the community. The constant cycle not only strengthens the relationship, but Wilson said, it is a huge success for the students who are completely responsible for projects from communicating with a client requesting the project to a final in the class that requires them to fully build two sheds like they would a house.
As students move further into the new semester, Wilson told FYN that the saw will be constantly used in his class. Reiterating what the donation means, Wilson noted the age of some of his equipment.
Having the community invest into its own future through the training of students not only shows the course importance but also shows that the community recognizes that importance and cares to improve the quality.
ELLIJAY, GA – Saturday, September 16, will see the Christian Learning Center (CLC) holding their Fall Mentorship Training from 1:00 – 5:00 P.M.
This twice-a-year free training session walks people through mentoring students and walking with them in their lives. Training teaches adults how to better affect and lead those students to their future or through rough times.
It is also a part of the process for volunteers to commit to mentoring for students in Gilmer High School. The program, which was started years ago by previous Director Caleb Land, now sees citizens volunteer one hour a week for a year to support and encourage students today.
Director Jennifer Colson tells FYN the whole purpose of training and preparing adults to spend the time mentoring out youth is for “Adults to pour into our students.” With repeated and consistent reports from previous students, Colson never spoke about whether she considers the program “successful.” Rather, she speaks of individual moments where she has seen the changes in students, emails of previous students conveying the impact on them, or just a simple thank you for the time and effort. She also speaks of more students waiting to join the program, waiting for more volunteers to fill the needed positions.
Whether it is a student dealing with issues or just someone needing encouragement to achieve greater in classes, Colson praises the program as an extension of the CLC classes. “We just want to love these kids and help them along,” says Colson. Since the kids can only go through three separate semester classes, there comes a point when class time is no longer an option.
Some call the CLC the “highlight of their day” when they attend classes. Extending that feel into a full mentorship allows a full year of continuation of that environment. In fact, the CLC offers its facility to those who do mentor as a place to meet and play.
Along with the training session on Saturday, volunteers will interview with administrators to better pair with kids and their needs. They also take time to meet with students parents. Some volunteers voice concerns about some issues that may arise and how to handle certain situations, but Colson assures those involved that the training covers all of that including a requirement of involving others with extreme circumstances, relieving concerns and pressure on volunteers.
Mentorship is not a requirement, but rather is requested by students in school who want to join. Whether they are CLC students or not, go to church or not, the program is available. When volunteers join it expands the reach of one of campus building to a district-wide influence through the strength of citizens taking time to strengthen younger generations.
Ministry Assistant at the CLC, Caitlin Neal told FYN she had received mentoring when she was younger, though not from Gilmer’s CLC. “It was very beneficial to me,” said Neal, “My mentor was a member of my church, but she was also a teacher in the school system. It was great to see her in multiple aspects of her life, but also pouring into me. I think it would be great for our students.”
Connections grow throughout a student’s life and these connections affect everything from small decisions daily to the ultimate course of one’s future. The possibility to be such an influence on someone’s life is just as impactful on the Mentor’s life as it is the student. The CLC alone sees close to 120 students a day. As growth continues in the community, growth must continue in support for those who need it, and especially for students who actively ask for it.
Citizens wishing to join the training to further explore the option of mentoring (going through the training does not make the year commitment) can inquire further through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 706-635-7100. Colson tells FYN that schedules can be flexible to times available to both the student and mentor.
While the CLC requested citizens inform them by Friday, September 15, if they wish to attend. However, Colson also stated that those who wake up Saturday with a last minute opening or last minute decision to attend are also encouraged to join the training as well.
Held in May at the end of the school year, students were honored for their whole year of achievements with a night of lights, cameras, and awards.
Replicating the feel of a night in the big cities, students walked the red carpet, posed for pictures, and offered their acceptance speeches throughout the night as they attended the first ever GHS Film Awards Show.
Stars, Directors, Cinematographers, and Animators attended a reception before the show taking moments to stop for our cameras as they prepared. As the night proceeded inside the theater, laughs abounded as the group of students shared jokes, thanks, and personal stories of the own trials and tribulations throughout their creative processes.
A Little Late by Amber Gravely for Best Screenplay.
Sanctuary by Spencer Stanley for Best Story.
Emily Nicholson with Kismet for Best Cinematography.
In a surprise announcement, the Gilmer County Charter School System Superintendent Dr. Shanna Wilkes told attendees to the Board of Educations work session Monday night they had hope.
With citizens outcry and even petitions signed to plead with the School Board to make Graduation on the Football Field a possibility, not many believed the idea would actually be possible due to Construction activity and safety hazards. However, Dr. Wilkes told citizens Monday that, due to the tireless efforts of the Parrish Construction Group, students are going to be able to hold their Commencement Ceremonies at Huff Mosley Stadium this Friday.
Unfortunately, this news comes with a sour note as a bleak weather forecast may still force attendees indoors after all. The Board will be forced to make a final decision Wednesday as to where to hold the ceremony so that setup and other preparations can begin.