July 20, 2019

The Art of Industry at HHS

The Art of Industry at HHS DATE: 01-20-2015

January 20, 1015- Although Dan Lamb feels at home on the farm, and Dave Hunt envisions a future in engineering, the two of them partnered up in their final semester of Industrial Arts over a shared affinity for tinkering. It’s Dan’s fourth time in the course and Dave’s third, and the two of them know the shop as their own: they took me on a tour and showed me all the tools that they’ve mastered throughout their high school careers here, from soldering to welding stations, supplies stores and tool chests. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to see my former students in their element. As they shared their corner of the HHS world with me, I was in awe of this space, brimming with potential.

The finished products hanging around the space are a testament to the balance that the Industrial Arts shop’s overseer, teacher Randy Dickson, has achieved between classroom projects to teach and practice skills, and the real-world application of providing a repair service for and by Hartford High students.

As advanced students, Dan and Dave partnered on manufacturing a Snow Bike this semester. The Snow Bike has special features dreamed up by the pair, such as a handmade studded and reinforced back tire; a bike “fork” that they flipped and welded to the frame before bolting it to a ski that acts as the front “tire.” The final touch? An aesthetically pleasing spray of red paint to make the contraption appear sale-ready. After completing this apparatus, Dan and Dave acted as the student body’s bike repairmen, fixing any issues that were thrown at them and building bikes from scratch.


On this last day of the semester, I witnessed two other former students of mine, Brennan Lewellyn and Nick Gray, completing their semester-long, Mr. Dickson-challenge. The task? Create a face using recycled bike parts and include movable elements. The result? A whimsical sculpture that makes passerby grin as it winks and smiles at them through the use of levers and pulleys. The vision is for future students to continue to add on to the structure until it’s a fully articulated Rube Goldberg machine. Brennan & Nick informed me, “We don’t take challenges lightly.” Indeed, all of these gentlemen have clearly risen to the occasion time and again and are graduating with a great knowledge of practical problem solving that they can apply to any field that they choose to pursue.


 -Alexis Nelson