Woodstock Academy students petition to keep wood shop - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Woodstock Academy students petition to keep wood shop

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WOODSTOCK, CT (WFSB) -

Some students at the Woodstock Academy want to learn the old-fashioned way by hand, in the school’s wood-shop.  But the administration has other plans.

Channel 3 talked with students who created a petition to keep the shop tradition alive.

Handmade wood guitars were the latest projects being created by students inside the woodshop at Woodstock Academy. They said it’s a diversion away from their iPad and phone technology-driven world.

“It’s nice to be able to come in here you know and to work with your hands, create something that’s unique to you,” Jacob Ireland, who is part of the class of 2019 at Woodstock Academy, said.

Students said the magic has been happening here for generations.

But the times could be a changing.  The school is considering re-purposing the woodshop and create a “maker-space” an all-purpose lab where students can create and learn other skill sets.

“The issue I see of integrating more stuff is the space in here because it already is kind of full,” Orion Newall-Vuillemot, who is part of the class of 2019 at Woodstock Academy, said.

But the school says enrollment is down and they need to provide opportunities for all students.  Shop students are so passionate about their woodshop they’ve started an online petition drive hoping to persuade the administration, which said they are listening.

“As we’ve expanded our curriculum to make sure we are giving kids a strong foundation plus these really exciting exploratory electives to take,” Holly Singleton, who is the associate head of school at Woodstock Academy said. “They have to choose and they’re not always choosing the wood-tech.”

Alumni, which include parents, said the woodshop is more than a space in school just to create objects.

“If they can use the woodshop in the traditional sense they have the ability to learn skills to create an heirloom they can pass down to their children or their children’s children,” Woodstock Academy alumni Gail White said. “That’s getting lost in today’s society.”

“Just from what I learned at the Academy it’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life,” Jason Brule, who graduated from Woodstock Academy last year, said.  

Woodstock Academy has a student body of more than 1,100 students serving six communities on two campuses.  School leaders told Channel 3 they applaud the wood shop students passion and look forward to exchanging ideas...on the maker-space.

The School is talking to all parties involved and there could be a compromise.

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