An Industry Education Partnership

As some of you already know, Horton Brasses provides hardware for any public school woodshop program who needs it. Cedar Ridge High School has a very developed shop program, fostered by the efforts of an outstanding instructor, Keith Yow. The recognition granted to his program is well deserved.

Cedar Ridge High School, Hillsborough, NC, 1st place winner of Laguna Tools 20th Anniversary Competition

Las Vegas, NV, May, 2004 Torben and Catherine Helshoj, Will Sampson – Editor for Cabinet Maker and Ken Collier – Editor for American Woodworker Magazine choose 10 winners for the Laguna Tools 20th Anniversary Competition.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Laguna Tools held a competition for schools promoting the craft of woodworking. The response to the competition was excellent according to Catherine Helshoj, Vice President of Laguna Tools. The judges met last week to review the entries and awarded 10 prizes. The prizes were grouped into two sections; five different prizes were awarded to schools based on a piece of furniture made and other factors, and five additional prizes were awarded to schools that had the greatest need for woodworking machines.

Cedar Ridge High School submitted multiple outstanding entries of furniture pieces that impressed the judges and resulted in being named the 1st place winner.

“It is evident that the teacher makes the difference by inspiring the students to produce such exceptional work,” said Ken Collier, judge. Cedar Ridge has built a partnership with WoodLINKS USA and other organizations to help build their program that produces superb, high-quality products that up until now have been largely very labor intensive, and with many of the tools being manufactured well before the students were born.

The students at Cedar Ridge High School have been producing pieces that involve intricate work such as veneered inlay and curved legs. Each student is involved in the entire process of making each piece and submitted a four-color photograph with details on the materials, techniques and tools used. Gray Burton, for example, designed and built two 36″ inch tables with tapered legs constructed in padauk, walnut, ash and cocobolo with a glass table. The woodworking classes at Cedar Ridge High School have motivated Gary Burton to extend his education to attend Rhode Island School of Design.

Under the guidance of Keith Yow the students have presented the Cedar Ridge High School/WoodLINKS USA Woodworking program to the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Oversight Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly.
Phyllis West, Director for Career and Technical Education for the Orange County Board of Education, knows of students who have previously dropped out of school to return for the woodworking program and others that have enrolled in excellent related post-secondary programs. “The organized partnership of school districts and woodworking industry organizations such as WoodLINKS can encourage students to be creative and ultimately produce the woodworkers of tomorrow. I applaud Keith Yow for his determination and leadership that are making his students create and produce such works of art for us all to enjoy,” Torben Helshoj, President of Laguna Tools, says.

There were two 2nd place runners-up in the competition which was awarded to the University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Central Valley High School. Dana Noble and ll’ya Maydanyuk, students at the Central Valley High School, produced a lamp stand that was inspired by the Seattle Space Needle. Made from cherry and local Charo Walnut, the piece provided the students with many challenges including curved legs.

Phillip Friesen, Woodworking Teacher for the Central Valley High School, has worked with a minute budget of $900, and he personally donates $1,000 of his own income to supplement the woodworking shop’s desperate needs. Each of these schools will be given an LT 16HD Laguna Bandsaw, a 4-station school workbench and a Laguna/Robland NLX Combination Machine. These prizes are valued at $12,500 each.

Two 3rd prize awards went to Marshfield High School and the Maine College of Art, which will both receive a Laguna Tools School Workbench, a TS table saw and a Laguna/Robland XSD jointer planer. Each of these prizes are valued at over $6,500 each.

In addition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes five “Greatest Need” prizes were awarded to schools that had the direst need for woodworking machines. Each of these schools will receive a Laguna LT16 HD Bandsaw with a Laguna Resaw King Blade and other accessories. Each of these prizes is valued at over $2,500. (A list of these schools is provided under a separate attachment.

“The woodworking department at Freehold Township High School is 32 years old and has 150 students working in this subject every day. It is amazing to see the high caliber of work” says Will Sampson.

The additional cost of shipping the machines was generously donated by ABF (Arkansas Best Freight) a partner-in-business with Laguna Tools. All of the machines are expected to be delivered before the end of the summer vacation.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Laguna Tools is a leading importer and designer of fine European woodworking machines and accessories for the discriminating woodworking hobbyist and the demanding professional woodworker.