Below Skinner Middle School,
"Get your glasses on!"
you'd suspect there's some kind of issue
"Hey, get your glasses on!"
with seeing things.
"Get the glasses out!"
James Duran is no optometrist
"Come on up."
but he is totally obsessed with safety.
"Yeah, but get your glasses on."
"This is outstanding. This is really good work."
who ... wood ... have guessed?
"All right, let's go to work!"
(Saws cut wood)
"Aside from me loving it, my biggest motivation was to get these kids working on wood,"
(Saw cuts wood)
"and working with tools, getting tools in their hands, and it's really successful."
(Wood shop quiets)
the woodshop at Skinner laid dormant for more than a decade. Duran - a student advisor during that time - would peek down here every so often… and remember.
"I fell in love with woodworking at Lake Junior High School. Many, many years ago. I mean I absolutely fell in love."
Love for technology and changing industries led to more computer labs and fewer shops. Until one day three years ago...
"Our principal here is really amazing."
(Broom brushes against floor)
when there was room for one new elective.
"She really jumped into the idea that the staff had about opening up the shop."
(Sawing wood, sanding wood, drilling wood)
and just as the trades have made a comeback… so too have shops like this.
"I think it'd be really, really special to start bringing the wood shops back into Denver Public Schools. Because we've seen such a positive impact
here on our school with our kids."
There's just something about working with your hands. A freedom to it. Because when you create something, you feel something.
"I like working with wood a lot."
"And it's, it's pretty fun."
"I like how you can be creative in what you make."
"I challenge them to keep going. So, not only do they enjoy the end product, but they also enjoy the process."
Frustration - and patience -
"That's all right, you just gotta keep sanding it."
only deepens the pride of these students and the pride of their teacher in what they've all created, together.
"When they take their projects home, they are so excited. And I love to see it too. I love to see their faces. You know? Makes it all worth it."
For DPS Features I'm Ben McKee.