Collins Career Center students help make Winter Wonderland

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2003

GETAWAY - Central Park will be a little more snowy this year thanks to a group of students at Collins Career Center.

High school students in the school's welding class constructed large snowflake decorations, which will be on display at Ashland's Winter Wonderland. The display in Central Park will begin Nov. 25.

Around the first of September, Winter Wonderland committee chairman Marion Russell contacted Collins welding instructor Michael Staton, the two men said. They were old friends from Russell's wife and Staton working together in the past.

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"We were looking for extra decorations, and we were also looking at costs," Russell said. "We wanted to do this locally, and they've done a fantastic job. I'm proud of them. I'm tickled to death that they've done it."

Despite that the majority of his students are older teenage boys, Staton said he had no gripes from the students when it came to making snowflakes.

"A few of them were saying, 'Snowflakes? What?'" he said. "Then, I brought in a picture and a brochure that gave them an idea of how big they were going to be, and it was sellable to them."

The materials for the project were provided by the Winter Wonderland Committee, and they were fabricated and painted by the students. Russell arrived Monday to pick up the first 20-25 snowflakes and more will be ready soon.

"I was pretty pleased with the whole thing," Staton said. "This has been a good hands-on project and learning experience. The buzzword in education is project-based learning.

"In turn, they get a sense of pride for doing something like this. The work of these young adults can be appreciated."

Whether or not the students realized it, Staton said the project involved geometry. Nevertheless, they had fun with the project.

The students did so well on this project, Russell said, that the Winter Wonderland committee may use them again for another project. The snowflakes, he said, can be used in the display for several years.