ECHS carpentry students complete picnic table project for Tom Byrne Park

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

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As an Escambia County High School carpentry class student rounds a corner of a picnic table with a roundover bit Thursday morning, wood shavings fly everywhere.

Ninth through 12th grade students in the ECHS class have been busy this week, completing a project to build new picnic tables for Tom Byrne Park.

The initiative was part of the school’s SkillsUSA chapter community service project, with a significant contribution from the city itself, a donation of materials for the construction of the picnic tables. This gesture not only facilitated the project but also underscored a strong partnership between the city and its young residents, ECHS Teacher Jason Blackwell said.

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The city of Atmore donated the lumber for the project. The lumber came from Swift Supply of Atmore.

“The donation of materials by the city was crucial to our project,” Blackwell, who was overseeing the students’ work, said. “It allowed our students to focus on applying their skills and working together to contribute something tangible and lasting to our community.”

Blackwell said it took the students more than a school week to design and build the five picnic tables.

“This is different than your typical classroom,” he said.

Blackwell added that Mayor Jim Staff personally requested the involvement of the high school’s SkillsUSA carpentry chapter in the endeavor.

“This project aligned perfectly with SkillsUSA’s mission to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens, providing an invaluable practical experience in community service,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the students embarked on the project with enthusiasm and determination.
“They managed every aspect of the process, from design and planning to the final construction of the picnic tables, demonstrating not only their technical skills but also their ability to manage a project from start to finish,” he said. “The newly built picnic tables, will be installed in the city park, offer a place for residents to enjoy outdoor gatherings, picnics, and events, enhancing the park’s overall utility and aesthetic appeal.”

“Seeing our project come to life in the park is incredibly fulfilling,” one of the students said. “It’s more than just building picnic tables; it’s about strengthening our community and making a positive impact.”

City officials thanked the students for their hard work and the collaborative spirit of the project.

“The initiative shown by the students of Escambia County High School exemplifies the kind of community engagement and leadership we hope to encourage in our youth,” officials said. “Their hard work has made a lasting contribution to our city park, one that will be enjoyed by residents for years to come.”

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry stakeholders working together to ensure the country has a skilled workforce, according to the Career and Technical Student Organization’s website.

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit national education association that serves middle school, high school and college/post secondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service, including health occupations.