WP Lord High School
Laser technology enhances curriculum in career technical education program.
Located within the MacLaren Youth Correctional facility and operated by the Willamette Education Service District, WP Lord High School allows students to work towards a comprehensive high school diploma and also provides a great opportunity for youth to understand business, develop work ethics, and realize pride and self-esteem.
After being closed for security reasons, WP Lord reopened the Career Technical Education program in 2000. The facility underwent a dramatic renovation and, with the assistance of grant funds, was able to incorporate new equipment for student use. WP Lord now offers professional technical courses in engraving, welding certification, sandblasting, construction technology, wood working, horticulture, landscaping, blueprint reading and computer software.
Students at WP Lord don’t know if they want to become a welder, a carpenter, work in construction or perhaps choose a career in horticulture. For them, getting into the Career Technical Education gives them the opportunity to use their skills and talents in a good way, and our Epilog systems are a big part of that program. Having our Epilogs, learning to better use them and learning all of their capabilities has been a great experience for me and the students. It has also added a new class and business concept to the school.
Kent Hollingsworth, Fabrication and Design Instructor, told us the facility started with welding, wood crafting, AutoCAD, and a horticulture classes. His first encounter with laser engraving systems came shortly after a visit to the Awards and Recognition Association show in Las Vegas.
“I went to a conference in Las Vegas where they were demonstrating sandblasters and engravers. While I was there, Epilog was demonstrating the Mini 24. Thanks to a federal grant, we were able to purchase one.”
Prior to selecting an Epilog, Kent tells us he had very little background knowledge on the laser engraving industry and the kind of equipment that was available.
“I initially had no experience with this kind of equipment,” Kent tells us, “but I knew for certain that we needed something easy to understand and maintain. We went with Epilog because of the great demonstration and the fact that there was a distributor close in proximity. In fact, our distributor, Mark Clements was fantastic about giving us hands-on time with the laser and answering all of our questions.”
While Kent did attend a user’s clinic after purchasing the laser, he tells us he shared the learning curve with the students in the engraving class. “Not only did we learn to use the laser together, I also found out some of our students have great computer and PhotoShop skills,” Kent said. “The engraving class turned out to be so popular we incorporated another system not long after the first.”
Kent tells us the students primarily use wood, coated brass, acrylic, plastic and glass for varying projects. “We do a lot of class projects, wooden frames, plaque engraving and trophies,” Kent said. “We actually sell some of the projects - making trophies and plaques to pay for materials and the maintenance of the units. This helps keep the program going.”
Kent tells us incorporating the laser has enabled WP Lord High School to greatly expand its educational offerings.
“It has given us another level to teach,” Kent said. “The engraving course includes studying the techniques of engraving with laser equipment on different materials. Students are learning to use the process of Photoshop on the computer and the process of translating an idea, picture or text into a finished product. With the instruction in planning, designing, selecting materials and using the equipment, students explore a topic of special interest within a related industry and develop greater skill on the computer and laser equipment. It also teaches the youth skills in running a business, inventory control, invoicing and doing purchase orders. Students have also learned the importance of quality in their work, customer service, new applications, and purchasing material options. The experience of purchasing and learning to use the laser has brought about a new meaning to job related skills here at Lord High School.
“Students at WP Lord don’t know if they want to become a welder, a carpenter, work in construction or perhaps choose a career in horticulture,” Kent explains. “For them, getting into the Career Technical Education gives them the opportunity to use their skills and talents in a good way, and our Epilog systems are a big part of that program. Having our Epilogs, learning to better use them and learning all of their capabilities has been a great experience for me and the students. It has also added a new class and business concept to the school.”