Arts and letters are important, but for career technical education teacher Michele Engle, the goal is skills to be used outside of the classroom.

Engle’s CTE class in Monument offers many topics from ag welding and construction to greenhouse care and management for students in middle school.

Engle said students at the greenhouse raise many different types of vegetable plants and flowers with more varieties available this year for sale.

For welding, she said students can learn about various welding processes such as gas metal arc welding (MIG welding), shielded metal arc welding (stick welding) and gas tungsten arc welding (TIG welding).

Students learn basic construction skills from the Paxton/Patterson construction program. They learn how to use various tools and apply these skills to plumbing, applying drywall, framing and more. Lessons on blueprint reading and taking measurements are also taught.

Skills learned are then applied to projects conducted through the school year.

There are 14 students enrolled in the CTE program with some students taking both welding and construction classes.

Engle said her goal is to help those students develop skills that make them more self-sufficient in their personal life.

“We live in a society where many people are not able to perform simple maintenance on their own homes,” Engle said. “This program gives them those skills, as well as allowing them the opportunity to develop interests in the different career fields.”

Some of the projects her class completed were building Adirondack chairs, toddler flip chairs and different types of benches, signs and stools.

One project that the higher-level students are building is a chicken house, which Engle said looked like a miniature barn. Engle said her students found the blueprints to construct the chicken house.

“As with any blueprint, the students have had to make modifications,” Engle said. “I have been very impressed with their discussions about the changes and the decisions that they have had to make concerning them.”

Her welding and construction classes have built items to donate to the community of Monument. Her welding class built a barbecue with a stand that was donated to the local motel, and her students also constructed a sidewalk through the local park in Monument.

For three years, the students’ work has also been donated as auction items donated for auctions for Women in Timber, local first responders and the Monument Senior Center.

“I instill in my students the importance of giving back and helping with programs that need individuals to help make them successful,” Engle said.

Engle said a highlight of being the CTE instructor is watching her students learn, create and build personal projects that they can use.

“I love the comments from parents and community members about how impressed they are with the knowledge that my students have gained while participating in the program,” Engle said. “I have been so proud to see how successful my students have become in many different types of vocational fields.”

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Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at rudy@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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