Avonmore students helping to put butts in the seats at IPM

Avonmore students helping to put butts in the seats at IPM
From left are student Tyler Troutman

CORNWALL, Ontario – There will be 1,100-acres worth of rural fun and agricultural education at the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, Sept. 22 – 26.

And, thanks to Tagwi Secondary students and a couple of local building supply companies, visitors to Finch will have more places to sit and rest between the demonstrations, entertainment, vendors,  and of course horse and tractor plowing.

Tasked with raising operating capital for the event and recognizing the need for places to stop and rest, the IPM sponsorship committee decided to offer community members the opportunity to sponsor an IPM bench for $300. It proved to be a very popular initiative and quickly sold out.  Bench sponsors have the option of taking the IPM souvenir home after the match in September.

“The project seemed daunting at first,” says IPM volunteer Stephen O’ Donohue, who has been facilitating the project.  Daunting until rural networking and community involvement took hold.

“But things just started to fall into place,” he says, when  teacher  Jamie Poulin’s construction technology students at  Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore came on  board  to build, and J &R. Adam  Building Supply  in  St. Albert agreed to donate the lumber and  other construction materials.

The initial request was for 75 benches.  That number grew to 100 and when the project is complete in the coming weeks the Tagwi students will have built 140 spruce benches.     As the project grew in size Winchester BMR in Winchester jumped in with more donated materials.

According to Poulin it was a good assignment for the students to work on because they were able to take advantage of the assembly- line nature of the project. “All the students had an opportunity to work on cutting, sanding, planing the wood and assembly, says Poulin,    “It also covered the curriculum requirements.”  The construction class is part of the Specialist High Skill Major program offered at Tagwi. The program allows students to make informed post- secondary education decisions and helps them move into the work force and apprenticeship training.

Poulin estimates the students, Grades 9 through 12, will have contributed 2000 man- hours to the project.    

It has also made for productive class time as the students came in knowing exactly what they had to do and what was expected of them to complete the project.  “They know the Match is coming,” he says, and are motivated by the team work as well as the sense of community and responsibility to get the work done and meet the deadline.”

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