In the carpentry shop at the Woodstock Campus of NBCC, hammers are pounding and sanders are buzzing. The smell of sawdust is thick in the air – a smell that recalls fond memories of woodshop projects of the past for a group of visiting seniors.
The Woodstock Campus played host to several residents of Carleton Manor along with Essential Skills students from Woodstock High School, providing the seniors an opportunity to experience the wonders of a workshop while mentoring the tradespeople of the next generation. Carpentry students from NBCC led the two groups in the construction of several wooden handicrafts that the Manor residents will sell at a community craft fair later in the fall.
“This really helps them reconnect with the trades,” said Cheyanne Wyers-Culbert, Director of Nursing at Carleton Manor Nursing Home. “They can reflect back on their careers in the trades. Nothing can replace the smells and sounds of being in a shop.”
The Essential Skills Achievement Pathway at Woodstock High provides students with an individualized learning plan that positions them for their future aspirations. It allows them to receive a high school diploma that leads directly to one of 41 college entry pathways at NBCC.
“It provides them with an opportunity to really see what being on a college pathway means,” said Beth Henderson of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
At Woodstock High, forging community connections is an important part of the program, said teacher Peter Belyea. In the past, Essential Skills students have built garden beds for Carleton Manor, and the partnership had a positive effect on both students and residents. The visit to the carpentry shop was a natural extension of that partnership, he added.
“I find the neatest part is bringing the community together,” said Belyea.
Working with community partners comes as second nature to carpentry students, who seize every opportunity for service learning that comes their way. In recent years, students in the program have built park benches, gazebos, accessibility ramps and sensory murals, putting their skills to work for the community.
“We love giving back to the community, and this is a good opportunity to learn while doing it,” said Garth Cleghorn, coordinating instructor for trades at the Woodstock Campus.