By Chris Eversole
While industrial arts training has declined at other Oklahoma Schools, Mustang High School’s program continues to be strong.
Not only are Mustang students winning awards in state and national competition, but also they are landing jobs as a result of their training.
Some have founded their own businesses doing work such as making glass etchings for upscale homes, bars and restaurants.
While industrial arts training, traditionally known as “shop” class, traditional was limited to boys, girls often enroll in Mustang’s program.
Industrial arts at Mustang High art taught as two programs – woodworking and crafts.
Both programs have veteran teachers.
In woodworking, Mike McGarry has taught in Mustang for 38 years, Mike Meledeo for 32 years and Justin Lindsay for seven years.
Crafts teacher Jeff Marzec has taught in Mustang for 38 years.
Woodworking students who don’t pursue careers in the field carry the benefits of their training, Interim Superintendent Charles Bradley said.
“Woodworking is the ultimate training for critical thinking,” he said.
That training includes taking an idea, developing a design and painstakingly building a project – a series of tasks that takes more patience than is common in today’s world of instant gratification, McGarry said.
“We are really teaching problem-solving,” he said. “The students do so much work in their mind trying to get the project done.”
In their third year of woodworking, students often spend the entire school year perfecting a project to enter in the Industrial Arts State Project Competition, which Mustang High hosts.
The students also make wooden toys that they donate to needy children, and they make gavels used at the state capitol.