Woods and Metals Class Builds Community

Originally published in The Headlight, June 4, 2021

Zoe Toperosky, Staff Writer
June 4, 2021
Photo by Zoe Toperosky

Although some of us can’t remember what we ate for breakfast this morning, we do remember the devastating fires of last September–the time when many lost their homes and valuables and when our skies flooded with orange smoke. Many people are still recovering from the damages they caused and many will be hit again this year with the coming fire season, which is predicted to be as bad if not worse than last year.

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) are the trade association in the US for the construction industry. They reached out to schools all across the country that have Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to help the people most affected by wildfires.

At Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School our woods and metals teacher, Steve Walmer, and his high level class was up for the challenge to create a storage shed for the victims. These sheds include a locking door so that everyone’s belongings stay safe until they are ready to move back into their homes.

Over the past two month or so the advanced woods and metals class has worked very hard to get this structure and are excited to put it into action. “You need to get back to your community,” said Walmer. “I mean there’s, especially in this year of all years, that people come together, help each other out. So I gotta give back.”

Walmer isn’t the only one who agrees with the message of giving back. Casimiro Cox, a junior, also believes this to be true. “Doing something nice for someone else, even though it’s like a completely random person–it’s just the good thing to do,” Cox said.

This is a big project, so Walmer is planning on treating it as such. He is planning on working until the end of the school year and for the AGC to pick it up the Monday or Tuesday after school gets out.

Another student that has been a big part of this project is sophomore Grace Bramwell at Ida B. Wells. Bramwell knows the importance of this project and has put in the effort to make it as great as possible. “It’s going to people who actually need it and are going to use it in ways that will help others, rather than it just sitting somewhere and being used for nothing.”

As we head into another summer and fire season, we look forward to shorts, sun, no school, and get togethers with fully vaccinated friends. Let us not forget the devastation of the fires that many people are still recovering from and be prepared to help with the damages that could happen this coming season.

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