Bishop Blanchet High School Charity Effort

Article - December 8, 2011

Corey Eriksen is a woodworking instructor at Bishop Blanchet, a small Catholic high school in Seattle. He sent me a few pictures recently showing how his class not only made charity rocking horses, but went the extra mile to make sure they went to good homes. I asked Corey to send a few more pictures and to give us a little writeup on his class and their charity efforts. Thanks to Corey and his class of talented and enthusiastic students!

Our projects are usually simple, designed to give the students experience with various aspects of woodworking, such as using different tools and following plans. Past projects have included birdhouses and keepsake boxes. This year, I wanted to try something new, and I had a plan in mind to build toys to donate to a holiday toy drive. Then I saw Marc?s announcement of the Charity Build rocking horse project, and I realized my students could contribute in more ways than one.

Every Christmas season, Blanchet?s students sponsor families in need, providing them with food and presents. I proposed to the students in my class that we build enough horses to provide one to each family with young children. My class of 12 would have to build 10 horses. To my delight, the students jumped at the idea.

The students threw themselves into this project with focused dedication. In order to make 10 horses with as little fuss as possible, I attached the patterns onto 1/4″ hardboard, and the students used these to trace out the different parts of the project. Working together, the students turned sheets of pre-laminated pine into heads, tails, and rockers. I took great pride in my students, their enthusiasm, and their charity. The end results are several beautiful rocking horses, two rocking unicorns and one rocking zebra!

Not only did they grow their woodworking skills, they also contributed to the Livestrong cause and helped ensure that 10 needy children will have a happier Christmas. Thanks, Marc, for sponsoring such a great event. I hope that the project next time will be equally appropriate and fun for my students!