Thursday, July 9, 2009

Middleburgh High School, Materials Processing projects

Project Profile: Middleburgh High School, Materials Processing class

In a time where computers, iPhones, and Facebook seem to have become the most popular forms of expression, in Middleburgh, New York, the time honored tradition of working with natural materials lives strong.

At Middleburgh High School, students in Dave Dickerson’s “Materials Processing” class are hard at work studying and practicing the fundamental principals of woodworking. Although they began in Middle School creating small woodworking projects and learning how to use some of the equipment in Dickerson’s shop (including band saws and sanding machines) for the majority of students in the class this is their first hands on woodworking course. Dickerson limits Materials Processing to 15 individuals in order to maintain an independent study type teaching experience with each student.

The young woodworkers are responsible for selecting their own projects. After reviewing plan books for ideas, each student works closely with Dickerson to choose a project that is within the range of their ability and also incorporates the latest methods in woodworking. The process then begins: Each week Dickerson has the students develop a list of tasks to be completed on their pieces. This allows students to act as their own project managers by developing a well thought out strategy for completing their designs, and also allows Dickerson to run the class efficiently by scheduling in advance machine set-ups and extra time for students who may require assistance.

At the end of each year, the Materials Processing student’s final projects are featured at the Middleburgh Central School “Technopalooza”. This annual event organized by the Middleburgh Central School Technology Department includes presentations, exhibits and competitions with student work produced throughout the year. This year’s event also featured an Antique and Custom Car show.

It is clear in talking with Dickerson that he and Middleburgh School are passionate about their technology program, recognizing that it challenges students while also teaching them many valuable and life long skills.
We at Wightman Specialty Woods are proud to be able to support this program through use of our wood materials, and commend these talented students for the time and hard work they have put into creating these beautiful pieces.

To learn more about Middleburgh Central School, the MCS Technology Department, and this years “Technopalooza” please visit:,