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KCHS students finish woodworking projects

Hannah Brown
Kiowa County SIgnal
Brandon Boyles completed the final pieces of a bedroom set he has been working on throughout his high school career.

Industrial Arts students at Kiowa County High School have been working hard in the shop recently to complete their woodshop projects that had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

“We’re getting some closure,” said Peter Kern, KCHS Shop Teacher. “I have a much better perspective now that we are actually getting some [projects] done.”

Peter Kern said his classroom was basically non-existent during the school shutdown. He wanted his students to be able to focus on their core classes without adding the stress of another class. He filmed weekly update videos for some of his classes to show them new techniques and keep them updated. As the guidelines for social distancing have been relaxed throughout the state of Kansas, students were able to get back in the shop towards the end of May and beginning of June. So far most students have been able to finish their projects according to Mr. Kern, with just a few left to be completed. Freshman Boyd Lothman and Alex Redecop, along with Sophomores Jordan Smith and Connor Pore built TV stands. Sophomores Bryson Brown and Caydan Pore and Juniors Luke Ballard and James Brack all completed beds last week. Sophomore Addison Sherer finished a coffee table that doubles as a storage chest, while Senior Ashlind Gumpenberger built a wardrobe. Gage McDonald, Senior, completed a rustic bar/table that featured a concrete top. Fellow Senior Brandon Boyles completed a dresser and two nightstands to go along with a bed frame and dresser he has made in previous years.

“Mr. Kern has taught me, along with my fellow classmates, what it takes to create a quality, highly detailed product,” said Brandon.

The Kiowa County High School Shop program is top-notch across the state and has won a multitude of awards at the Fort Hays State University Industrial Arts Fair. Most recently the Ross Beach Sr. Award in 2019 for Outstanding Technology Program. Not only has the program won multiple awards, but there has been an abundance of individual awards won by students. Kern dedicates a lot of time to his students, making sure they meet deadlines and learn new skills.

“Sometime I would get relatively close to the deadline, but Mr. Kern was always persistent in having his students finish on time even if that meant he had to come in after hours,” said Boyles.

Peter Kern has taught at Kiowa County for 14 years. He is married to Haley, and they have three kids, McKenna, Garrett, and Stanley.