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Benton Grade School promotes future builders.

Byline: SUBMITTED BY JENNIFER FITZPATRICK Benton Middle School

The end of March marks the conclusion of the third-annual Jr. Builder's Club at Benton Grade School.

The club was created to inspire young students to work with their hands and see themselves as "makers". Students from third to sixth grade created projects of their choosing.

Students from Benton Middle School and Benton Consolidated High School assisted younger students in becoming competent with their tools and offering feedback on their ideas. Students have created a variety of projects over the years, such as chairs, tables, doll furniture, play swords and signage for loved ones.

The unique creations this year included a crib for Jesus and a llama resembling a Trojan horse.

In the program, students watch a variety of "YouTube experts" introduce and demonstrate each tool. Older students observe younger students practice with the tools to demonstrate competencies such as hammering nails, using the hammer claw to remove a nail, screwing and unscrewing wood screws, and sawing a 1x6 board in a miter box.

Although there has been an occasional hammered thumb or splinter, the greatest challenge is decoding the measuring tape.

While an atmosphere of safety is consistently encouraged and horseplay admonished, there is a general understanding that sometimes even the most competent woodworker learns "the hard way."

The program exists through support from both inside and outside the community. Students pay a nominal fee to participate, less than $6 per session, and the sessions usually fill up quickly.

The program could not run without the volunteer efforts from the middle and high school students. Additionally, the club has received lumber donations from Stotlar Lumber in Benton, and has also benefited from deeply discounted culled lumber through Lowes of Mt. Vernon.

The twenty tool kits were purchased through the school fundraising nonprofit Donorschoose.org. Additional tools have also been donated by members of the community or purchased inexpensively at sales.

Anyone interested in supporting other classroom initiatives at donorschoose.org, should visit www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=3833111# before April 12.

The club is also seeking donations of non-treated lumber for next year's club. Anyone interested in helping should contact jfitzpatrick@benton47.org.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 27, 2019
Words:364
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