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Students Put Their Talents To Work for Local Firefighters

Students Put Their Talents To Work for Local Firefighters

Kate Cichon, 13, and Robert Kersten, 12, burn a firefighting crest Monday into a picnic table they made with classmates this summer at James Madison Middle School. Appleton firefighters are excited to receive the tables.

Appleton Post Crescent via YellowBrix

July 13, 2010

APPLETON — The Madison Middle School woodshop has been humming lately with the sound of saws, sanders and drills as 50 seventh- and eighth-graders learning the craft of woodworking turned out toy sailboats and puzzles.

But the boys and girls kicking up all that sawdust in summer school have also tackled a much bigger project — two picnic tables bound for Appleton Fire Department stations.

Robert Kersten, 12, a seventh-grader, came up with that idea when teachers Bob Oberst and Jared Stanley suggested the students collaborate on a civic project to close out the course.

“I came up with firefighters to donate to because they do so much for us,” Kersten said. “We want to give back to them.”

“It’s a good cause,” agreed Oberst, noting Home Depot provided donations and support for the project.

“I thought it was real neat that the kids jumped right in on this.”

“We thought it was a really creative idea and it was a good thing for teamwork,” said Kate Cichon, 13, an eighth-grader. “It showed how kids from Madison Middle School can work together.”

She and others were pleased with the response from the fire department, too.

“They called back within 10 minutes of us calling them and they were really happy we thought of them,” said Cichon. “They had locations picked the very next day.”

Cichon and Kersten said woodworking has been a favorite summer class for them.

Cichon took it last summer, fearful she might fail the class during the school year. She earned an A-plus, she said. “It was so much fun I decided to take it again.”

Kersten said he likes to make things and work with wood, adding that carpentry could be a good “backup job” for him in the future.

When completed, the pine picnic tables will be placed at the Drew Street Station 1 and at the new Station 6 near Appleton North High School.

Before delivery on Friday, however, the students are wood-burning firefighter images and emblems into the tabletops and laminating them.

The kids worked hard to get it right, Kersten said. “We wanted to strive for perfection more because it’s going to be out in the community.”

“I feel good about it,” said Cichon. “I’m doing something for my community.”

Appleton Fire Department personnel are only too happy to be the chosen recipients, said Lori Casey, the department’s public educator. “When we were asked if we’d be interested the chief was, of course, thrilled with the opportunity to have something done by the hands of the kids. We’re excited to see what the tables look like.”