Discovering a New Art

by Lyndsey Jennings and Brandon Stuck

When Mr. Miklos, Shenango’s beloved woodshop teacher, retired last year, many feared this would be the end to Industrial Arts electives.  Not only is this not the case, but the woodshop room has been completely transformed, thanks in large part to the efforts of STEAM teacher, Mr. Merlino. 

As STEM transitioned to STEAM, Mr. Merlino decided to keep most of the woodshop machines and incorporate them into his own curriculum. “[With] STEM Explore, you’ve added a whole bunch of introductory woodworking into the mix for STEM. So not only do the kids get the original STEM class, but they’re also getting the introductory woodworking class Mr. Miklos used to offer.

“We are going to be using our CNC machines a little bit more and incorporate the laser [engraver],” he continued.  “They were [being used] before we moved down here, but they were a case by case basis for the student’s individual projects. We are going to try to start incorporating more and more technology into our design for projects that we do in our advanced level classes.”

Students are as excited about the changes as Merlino is.  “I like how in the new STEAM room, we have robotics in one corner, woodworking in another, and all the computers centralized in one area,” stated senior Ethan Bintrim. Overall, the room is a much bigger space, but with all the different compartment rooms, it allows a separate room for each and every aspect of the STEAM course. As Shenango sophomore Tucker Tillia said, in his best Russian accent, “Is nice.” 

Not only is the room more spacious, but class sizes are smaller, allowing for more one-on-one instruction.  Sophomore student Dominick Panella noted that  “there are more tools accessible to us [and] Mr. Merlino can give more attention to each individual student.” 

To the STEAM novice, junior Cole Sickafuse simply said; “You wouldn’t understand.”  A glance in the STEAM room will show that multiple projects go on at once, many of which are very complex and confusing to someone not enrolled in the program. 

As for the big picture, both students and the teacher really seem to be getting used to the new room. They have no issue joking around while still getting work done. Mr. Merlino affectionately recognized “the ghost of Miklos. He’s not dead; we just miss him.”

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