Sasha Mosier and Sarah Rogers were two Port Townsend High School students who hadn’t found their niche before they enrolled in Kelley Watson’s maritime Career and Technical Education program.
This year’s Port Townsend Woodworking Show saw Mosier and Rogers, now high school seniors, joining Watson to showcase their work through the PTHS maritime woodworking classes.
The students and their teacher agreed the program they already considered invaluable has been improved by a recent “Building Competency Takes Tools and Time” grant from the Port Townsend Education Foundation. The PTEF has awarded $51,170 to programs in the Port Townsend School District for the 2018-19 school year.
Watson said the PTEF’s $2,200 grant to her program allows her to purchase 12 new sets of hand tools for her students. That doubled the number of hand tools they had and enables her to provide nearly one set of hand tools to each of the more than two dozen students in her class.
“Next Monday, each student will receive their own box of tools,” Watson said Nov. 3 during the first day of the woodworking show at the Port Townsend American Legion Post 26 hall. “They won’t have to wait to share their tools, and will instead be able to take care of their own tools.”
The Port Townsend School of Woodworking advised Watson on which tools to use.
With three classes totaling 65 students in the maritime CTE program, Watson expressed her gratitude to the PTEF for any funding beyond the standard class budget that has been budgeted, which falls short of affording her enough money to buy new tools.
Mosier has been taking Watson’s classes for two years, while Rogers has been enrolled in Watson’s classes all four years of her high school career.
Mosier didn’t even learn that such CTE courses were an option until her sophomore year, but from her junior year forward, she’s embraced woodworking with a passion, praising Watson as a teacher and offering similarly glowing compliments to the professional woodworkers who have shared their insights with the students.
“The connections we’ve made are really special,” Mosier said. “I’ve enjoyed being able to teach the first-year students a little bit this year.”
Mosier credited Watson’s classes with providing her the opportunity to tackle subjects such as math, which she’d struggled with before, in creative ways.
“It’s a different atmosphere from any other class,” Mosier said. “You don’t just sit around studying.”
Rogers likewise found math challenging, enough that she opted into Watson’s class as a freshman because her alternative was a math class.
While Rogers admitted she wasn’t thrilled by wooden boatbuilding, woodworking in general has sparked her interest, and she credited Watson with granting her the creative freedom to explore what was an entirely new field of art to her, and “make what I want.”
Rogers has reveled in being able to design her own projects, even as she and Mosier encountered initial difficulties in taking exact measurements.
“I never realized how hard it was to saw a straight line until I did it,” Mosier said. “It was terrible, but even during the first day, I started getting it more. It’s been challenging and rewarding to become more precise. Unlike written tests, you get to see your growth in skill with woodworking.”