With the creative freedom to build, students interested in art or construction have found a common interest in Patriot High School’s manufacturing classes and the Product Innovation and Design pathway.
Manufacturing teacher Charlotte Jones equips students with the necessary skills to “learn everything that they need to know to make stuff” with a wide range of technology and materials. Students get to design and bring their creations to life as long as they follow the themes of their assignment. Students must use the skills of a graphic designer and a construction worker to finish their projects.
Students design their projects with Adobe Illustrator, SolidWorks, Cura, and other software programs. They use laser engravers, table saws, woodworking tools, plexiglass, and fabric to bring life to their projects. Whether it is making a canvas tote bag or a fun cornhole game for school events, students are making it all.
Ms. Jones’ goal is to encourage students “to use their imagination to create and to design... [using] tools that they would use if they're in any manufacturing field.” Not only do students have access to a classroom full of table saws, vinyl cutters, and lasers, but they also learn to stay safe as if they were out in the field. Students are met with personal protection equipment (PPE) as they enter the workroom. Because they are working with heavy machinery, one of the first lessons in the class is how to stay safe.
Armando Saldivar said this class will allow him to pursue a career in construction after graduation. “With the skills that I obtain, I want to be able to do my own stuff with saws, and drills, and to cut wood properly without getting hurt," said the junior.
Before taking out the drills and saws to build spice racks, Armando and his group had to first design their product. This is an aspect of the class that encouraged Natalie Mayorga to enroll. The junior’s counselor encouraged her to enroll in manufacturing because of her interest in art. This class has given her the opportunity to explore the different art mediums she can use and learn from. Manufacturing offers her tools that are not readily available to any artist her age.
Natalie’s group has built coasters resembling vinyl records with a record player-looking holder and is currently working on creating fashionable bandanas for dogs. Using a computer, vinyl-cutting device, fabric, heat press, and a sewing machine has allowed Natalie and her group to create art while learning about the manufacturing process.
Similarly to Armando, Natalie also credits this class with helping her with her goals after high school. “My dream is actually to start my own business for art that I have created… This really helps because I get to create my own art,” she said.
In only its second year at Patriot, Ms. Jones’ manufacturing classes are building a strong foundation for emerging builders and artists. The classroom was designed by this year’s students, including the art around the walls and the wooden lockers students built to store their projects. They are creating the perfect environment for the next artisans to build away.