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Hands-on learning

By Staff | Jul 16, 2010

Sandals, bathing suits, and beaches are a few things that come to mind in the summer for a teen, not school.

However, for three Rugby high school students enrolled in the school’s Career and Technical Education program, summertime was an opportunity to earn class credit and pick up valuable building trades skills.

Tyler Schmaltz, Sam Morrow and Jared Peterson, who will soon enter their senior year at RHS, recently completed a summer trades class taught by Bottineau High School instructor Rodney Schmidt. The class focused on electrical and construction work and ran five days a week through the month of June.

The class spent their time building a shed and the trio learned to frame walls and install windows and rafters and handle the various tools for the job. Each student was given a specific task to complete, so the project could be finished on time. Schmidt’s class also teaches responsibility and trust, but also had an element of fun, too.

“The class is a lot of fun and it’s a way to keep busy in the summer,’ said Schmaltz, who is thinking about a career in teaching.

Peterson and Morrow are both thinking of pursuing a career in construction.

All three took the class last summer as well and were interested in picking up more skills this year.

Schmidt has been teaching at Bottineau for six years and has been in the building trades business for 35 years. He started the program as a way for students to get hands-on experience they may need in their lives someday.

The three-week program is open to juniors and seniors and the class mostly completes small projects, such as a shed or garage as well as remodeling projects.

Schmidt’s classes and summer programs have no fees for the students, but accept donations. He added the donations are used to buy materials and tools for the classes.

He created this program to help students discover hidden talents and to teach them skills that are very useful.

Skills that could eventually open career doors down the road.

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