An Inside Look at GHS’s Wood Engineering Class

Helena Bentas, Editor In Chief

Wood Engineering is not a required credit at GHS; however, it still can be proven to be as rewarding as any core curriculum class. Unfortunately, woodshop does not count as a fine arts credit. Fortunately, homework isn’t required for this course outside of the classroom. Wood engineering is a useful skill one can apply outside of the classroom in comparison to other core classes. 

Rachel Wall is a senior at Goffstown High School graduating this June. In spring of last year, she was looking for a course she wouldn’t normally sign up for. A class that would challenge her and might spark a passion for a new hobby or interest. Woodshop not only was a class that interested her, but was recommended by a trusted teacher, Curt McDermott. 

Mr. McDermott is a wood engineering teacher at GHS, as well as Mr. Tsiatsios. Their classroom is located along the technology wing, in room T-3. Though protected in their concealed hall, room T-3 is easily accessible and navigable. There are no requirements or prerequisites for Wood Engineering 1, although if you wish to pursue woodworking further, a prerequisite of Wood Engineering 1 is required for the second level of this class. The class is a semester long, either a) running from August to January or b) January through June. 

Throughout the semester, students are responsible for completing projects posed to them by the instructor. Typically, each project requires the dedicated effort of around two to three classes, or sometimes even five to six. Though equipment is necessary for some components of particular projects, the students are plentiful within Wood Engineering and sometimes require students to focus on other tasks while patiently waiting to use the available resources. The curriculum is designed specifically to educate the students progressively on increasingly advanced skills and materials. With each project, the tasks required you to utilize a bit more energy, patience, and willingness to learn. 

Personally, one of Rachel’s favorite projects was her segmented board project, which usually results in a charcuterie or cutting board. Rachel’s original intention for this project was to create a dinosaur shape, specifically a triceratops, for the board, creating a unique aspect to her project. However, when discussing her plan with the Wood Engineering teachers, Mr. Tsiatsios had introduced Rachel to a beautiful piece of ash with a nice grain. McDermott even chimed in that with Rachel’s use of the wood she would “do the wood justice.” Rachel was determined to use the wood; however, she concluded that both the pattern and the wood she had wished to use would make the board too busy. I wanted to give the board a pattern that would pop and be unique. The cherry wood provides a nice color, while the white ash provides a really cool wood grain design.” Ultimately deciding she would, instead, keep the pattern of the wood but the board would remain its regular rectangular shape. In the conclusion of her project Rachel states that “I think that I am the proudest that I have ever been on a final product. I don’t think there is any way for me to improve the board, or really anything that I would have done differently. I have also received a lot of praise from faculty and staff members, which has really boosted my confidence regarding my craftsmanship.” The boards were on display in the Goffstown High School Library, celebrating the accomplishments of students with excelling students within Wood Engineering. 

Wood Engineering is a real-world applicable course you can use as a relevant tool in your life. An understanding of the components of woodshop, can provide you with skills you may not have otherwise learned outside of school curriculum or within the classroom. It gives students an opportunity to explore an education relevant to the use of power tools and how to safely handle them, potentially for possible career choices along the line. Woodshop provides you with a chance to learn life skills that can be applied to a variety of different opportunities, as well as allowing a safe space to explore creativity and to challenge yourself.