04/17/18 — Norwayne students build table, donate it to Edgewood School

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Norwayne students build table, donate it to Edgewood School

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 17, 2018 5:50 AM

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Norwayne Middle School TSA, or Technology Students of America, students Annika Forsleff, Ethan Davis and Avery Bass demonstrate the bench that converts into a handicap-accessible picnic table, built by the students as part of a construction challenge and donated to Edgewood Community Developmental School.

Two dozen Norwayne Middle School students are heading to a state competition this weekend, with one group's project culminating in a donation to Edgewood Community Developmental School.

Darlene Smith, sixth-grade math and science teacher, said the students have been working diligently to prepare for the NCTSA, or N.C. Technology Student Association, state competition in Greensboro.

Twenty-four students from the school will be participating in 12 different events, including a construction challenge. The challenge required them to submit a scale model with a portfolio documenting the use of leadership as well as technical skills to fulfill an identified community need.

The latter part was actually fairly easy, Smith said.

"It's actually a continuation project from last year," she explained. "Our construction team last year built a handicap-accessible picnic table for Edgewood.

"We decided since they were in so much need and they didn't have any outdoor seating area for their teachers or students and there was only that one picnic table that we donated last year, to kind of carry it through this year."

The four-member team consisted of eighth-grader Luke West, seventh-graders Avery Bass and Annika Forsleff and sixth-grader Ethan Davis.

They got a bit creative, she said.

"They have two benches that can be used as a bench or the back of it flips to make a table and if they put the two benches back to back for a table, it tilts the back of the bench to the table and you can lock it," she said.

The students have been working toward this since school began in the fall, their teacher said. They did a lot of brainstorming, with their ideas aided when Ken Barrett, Smith's brother-in-law, stepped in to assist.

"He actually found some plans to build it and helped them figure out measurements and how much wood and all of that," Smith said. "We all met at Lowe's. The students were taught how to pick out proper boards that weren't warped or didn't have knots in it so they learned about the grain of the wood.

"He taught them how to use the machines, the saws and the sanders and the screw guns that they used. He taught them about safety and wearing safety glasses."

Much was learned from the months-long project, she added, including how to work as a team, encourage each other and taking pride in their accomplishment.

Then came the exciting part -- presenting it to Edgewood, which happened this past week, Smith said.

The group delivered it to the school on Friday.

"The kids unloaded it and placed it in the yard and they demonstrated it for Ms. (Tasha) Adams, the principal there, and showed how it worked," Smith said. "It's just like you pull a pin the back of the bench and it tilts the back of the bench to the table and you can lock it. And then they demonstrated how it can be a picnic table, just different ideas that they could use with it outside."

Smith praised the efforts of the students in the TSA, especially since much of the work was done beyond the classroom. She said the bulk of the sessions took place after school and on weekends.

"I'm very proud, and I think they're very proud of their work, too," she said. "I think they see the accomplishments they're making.

"Whether they win this competition or not, I really think they're proud of everything they have done because all of these kids were in more than one competition. This isn't their only competition so they've had to prepare for multiple competitions."