Students involved in the Boys & Girls Club at the D.C. Everest Middle School had an opportunity to learn the art of woodworking from members of the Wisconsin Valley Woodturners.
Bob Stavran, a retired DCE teacher, started the woodturning program four years ago. This summer, the four instructors were Bob Stavran, Tony Kopchinski, Mike Banderob and Pat Peckham. Members of the Woodturners worked with students about four days a week.
The 39 students who participated in the woodturning lessons created more than 60 handmade items, including pens, whistles, flower vases and magic wands.
“We helped the students make simple things to get them started in woodturning," Kopchinski said. "And we’d help them with their requests — one student wanted to create a wooden football; another made a mallet; and others made decorative items like mushrooms or acorns — whatever they could imagine.”
One memory in particular stands out for Kopchinski.
“One of the students told us how much her grandfather loved woodworking and that she wanted to learn as well. Her wheelchair prevented her from reaching the lathe, so Mike and I customized a tool that changed the angle of the lathe and adapted it to her reach," he said. "Watching her complete her woodturning projects was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever seen.”
The Wisconsin Valley Woodturners meet monthly to discuss woodturning, plan fundraising projects for the community, host woodturning demos and share techniques and advice. In winter, the Woodturners work with students every other Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club in downtown Wausau.