Monday, December 8, 2014

Tree Lighting Doubles as Student Project Showcase

The MISD Center for the Performing Arts is home to a variety of annual holiday season events such as the Big Brassy Christmas concert and Toys for Tots. Following last year’s Toys for Tots event, Flo Torres, the Center Director, and her staff decided the holiday season was missing one central item – a one-of-a-kind Christmas tree to display in front of the facility. True to form, Torres found a way to include students in the project.

“Our motto at the Center is ‘Where Education and Celebration become One,’ and we are always searching for ways to showcase student talent through our various programs and events,” said Torres.

After some planning and collaboration, the tree became a class project for students at the Ben Barber Career Tech Academy (BBCTA). It was designed and constructed by students from the Advanced Welding class, with students from the Welding 1 class assisting with the finishing touches. The magnificent tree is approximately 33 feet tall, weighs 900 pounds, and is decked out with 10,000 multicolored lights. A beautiful four-foot golden star shines brightly from the top of the tree.

Students spent about a month constructing the tree under the guidance of BBCTA teachers Rob Goodson (Engineering) and Alex Higgs (Architecture and Welding). Student used saws, cutting torches, grinders, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and a CNC Plasma Cutter to build this impressive project.

The project was unveiled at a tree lighting ceremony in front of the Center on the evening of Sunday, December 7. Dr. Jim Vaszauskas, Superintendent of Schools, and David Cook, Mayor of Mansfield, kicked off the event with a warm welcome and a few words about the district and community. Students from the MISD Children’s Center sang a few holiday songs just before Dr. Vaszauskas led the crowd in the final countdown to the tree lighting.

Hats off to these talented and hard-working students:

Advanced Welding Class: Zach Alvarez, Tony Dowd, Chaz Galvan, Will Hager, Devin Holcomb, Zach Lee, Jake Mathis, Mike McGaugh, Ricardo Olivares, Makenna Ruder, Trevor Saltsman, Josh St. Pierre, Sean Vandiver, Kolton Widner.

Welding 1 Class: Sirilo Alegria, Logan Anderson, Zoobie Azam, Kyle Carmichael, Gabe Diaz, Triston Lesley, Aldo Maldonado, Dylan McCallum, Hudson Neal, Tommy, Nguyen, Jacob Proffer, Chandler Shumate, Dajuan Webb, Brock Wilson.