High School Students “Cutting” Classes

High School Students “Cutting” Classes

A teacher at Landrum High School in Campobello, S.C., convinced her students to put down their cell phones and pick up carving tools. “Our students are so connected to technology that I wanted them to experience a craft or skill that doesn’t involve complicated tools, technology, or cell phones,” said Cathey Stoney, the visual arts teacher. “Woodcarving can be a relaxing and contemplative activity; I thought it might spark their interest and infuse enthusiasm for something very different from the traditional curriculum.”

Forced by a tight budget to look outside the school for funding, Cathey found the Big Ideas Grant from the Tryon Fine Arts Center, a non-profit organization that promotes the arts and arts education. She applied and was thrilled when the school got the grant. Cathey contacted a local woodcarver, Betsy Burdett, to arrange the classes. The carving classes were a huge success. Twenty-eight high school students learned basic cutting techniques and carved simple projects such as fish, stars, and birds. Cathey taught them how to paint and finish the carvings. She said, “I would advise anyone who wants to bring a woodcarver to their school to look into grants like the one that made all of this possible.”

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