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BHS Tech Club: Turning dreams into reality

Students in the Brockport High School (BHS) Technology (Tech) Club have been working hard creating t-shirts and building a sense of community throughout the District.

Tech Club meets twice a month and consists of 10 students, with BHS Technology Teacher Richard Barrett acting as the club’s advisor. They operate on an “open-door” policy, making the club available to all students throughout the year and encouraging unofficial members to stop by.

“The making of the shirts for various clubs and organizations is bigger than just making the apparel,” Barrett said. “It forms a bond amongst many students here in the district and gives them a chance to feel like they belong to something. They wear their shirts proudly.”

Each year, the club completes approximately 15 District orders and two to three community orders including making t-shirts, sheds and chicken coops as well as participating in interactive exhibits at Springdale Farms.

“I do my best to make all students feel welcome and have the best experience they can during their time in high school,” Barrett said. “I personally believe that students learn best by doing, so I try to provide them with opportunities to learn skills they can use later in life.”

Over the years, the focus of the club has shifted from preparing for annual competitions to preparing for life after graduation. The goal: to provide students with a variety of hands-on experiences, encouraging them to develop skills and confidence they will need to be successful later in life.

With this approach, the club provides students with the freedom to choose a personal, exploratory project and helps them succeed by removing the barrier of funding and providing them with the skills necessary for the job.

“The goal is to raise money so students can create their own ‘dream’ projects,” Barrett said. “Projects that the students might have always wanted to build, but may not have had the funds, tools or resources to make them happen.”

As the year progresses, students quickly realize they are not only in charge of turning their ideas into a reality, but find they are more than capable of doing so. Some of these individual projects have included making electric guitars, racing lawn mowers and creating wood furniture.

“We all have the same philosophy within our department,” Barrett said. “Anytime a student selects a project, it helps get them invested in the [tech] program, providing them with the opportunity to not only learn new skills, but apply that knowledge to real-life situations.”

Originally, the club started 11 years ago, as part of BHS Technology Teacher Craig Coon’s Engineering Design and Development (EDD) class, to help fund students as they built solar-powered vehicles to enter in nationwide competitions.

According to Coon, when students wanted t-shirts to support their team and wear as a class, he began researching options. A student soon suggested they try to make the shirts “in house” and there was enough interest that the club began creating shirts not just for their class, but for various clubs and teams throughout the District.

Most recently, the Tech club created the Ginther 3 B’s t-shirts as well as the 20th Annual Hill School Spelling Bee shirts, both sponsored by the Brockport PTSA.

Tech Club