Chet Greason, Gazette staff
One hundred and ninety two elementary school students descended upon Stratford Northwestern secondary school today to partake in FunTECH, an annual event meant to introduce young people to various trades.
Anita Edwards, an educational assistant at Northwestern and organizer of this year's FunTECH event, explained that eight different tech teachers, along with student and parent volunteers, were spending the day familiarizing local children aged seven to 14 with trades such as woodworking, transportation technology, and manufacturing.
"For a lot of these kids, hands-on learning is where they excel," said Edwards. "Plus, there's a need for trades, the money is good, and these kids tend to really do well in trades."
Eleven-year-old Natalie Ropp, who attends Anne Hathaway Public school, was grinding metal and learning how to MIG weld as part of the welding technology workshop. Upon the workshop's completion, students had built their own metal dragonfly statue. This is Ropp's third year participating in FunTECH.
"I haven't done it before," she said when asked why she chose the welding workshop. Though she's taken other introductory courses as well, such as woodworking, she's not sure which one she likes best yet.
Ropp thinks she might like to be a teacher.
Cathy Riddell was instructing students in the cosmetology workshop on how to give their mannequin heads a bouffant updo. The hair styling and aesthetics teacher got somewhat sidetracked when Norm, Northwestern's husky mascot, made an appearance. Some of the students took a break from their bouffants to brush the enormous dog's fur.
In the Screaming Avocado kitchen, students were busy baking pizzas and upside down pineapple cake, while the woodworkers built their own wooden puzzle boxes.
Students could chose to participate in one workshop (a half day) or two (full day).