MIDDLEBURG - In the spirit of the holiday season, students in the first-period Wood Working II class at Midd-West High School transformed their classroom into a real-life version of Santa's workshop.
The small group of high school juniors and seniors dedicated one week of class time to mass producing more than 100 wooden toy trucks to be donated to Susquehanna Valley Toys for Tots, a foundation that collects and distributes Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community.
Colton Snook, Midd-West junior, said his teacher, Matt Dietz, originally presented the idea to the class.
Photo submitted by MATT DIETZ
The Wood Working II class at Midd-West High School manufactured more than 100 wooden toy trucks like this one to donate to Susquehanna Valley Toys for Tots.
"(Dietz) said he wanted to do something to help the kids for Christmas," Snook said.
Dietz had a small wooden truck in the classroom, and the students decided the toy would be simple to reproduce and easy to manufacture in large quantities.
"We just thought (the truck) was pretty cool ... it would be something that wouldn't be too difficult," Snook explained. "We could get (the truck) done and make it look nice."
After settling on a product, the class spent several days planning their production and assembly line. Snook said the 12 students mapped out their plan on the classroom's white board, and then split into pairs. Each pair was assigned one or two jobs, he said.
The next five days of class were spent ripping and cross cutting wood, sanding rough edges and staining. Snook said the class installed jigs on every machine, which secured the wood and ensured that the measurements of each part were exactly the same.
Before the trucks were complete, students used the school's Computer Numerical Control router to engrave "Mustang Manufacturing" on the side of each toy, a name inspired by the school's mascot.
When the toys were finished, the class personally delivered them to the Toys for Tots warehouse. While there, Snook said the students met the folks who run the local branch of the organization and had the opportunity to tour the facility.
Though the process involved hours of hard work and extensive planning, Snook said he and his classmates learned how to plan and set goals, as well as work together efficiently. The production line format of the product helped each class run smoothly, he said.
While the advanced wood working class was responsible for most of the assembly of each toy, other wood shop classes helped to sand and stain the trucks, Snook said.
"The students really bought into the idea of serving others," Dietz said about his class. "It was a great way to experience a unit on mass production and, at the same time, serve the community."