High school industrial arts instruction is not what it used to be. It's a great deal more.
Nevada High School industrial technology teacher Brian Leonard has four classes a day of 12 to 15 students each, mixing grade levels and partnering them in individual learning modules for hands-on training in computer-aided design, flight simulation, four-stroke lawnmower engines' operation and repair, paper roller coasters and Ping-Pong ball launchers made of paper towell tubes.
He awards Leonard Loot for the kids to buy paper clips, rubber bands, craft sticks, hot glue and small dowell rods from him. "I hear parents say, 'I wish I had had this class when I was in school," said Leonard.
"We do airplane inspections and practice taking off and landing. One kid set the record ping pong ball launch last year with 30 feet. I tell them, 'You may not like the partner you're working with, but like in real life, you have to get along and get the job done.'
"I try to teach real life skills like budgeting money and time management. As a teacher, you sometimes don't really see it until a student comes back and says, 'I remember taking your class.
"'You taught me how to do that and I really appreciate it.'"
Leonard got an early grounding in the subject he would one day become expert in when, as a NHS student in the early 1980s, he was president of the school chapter of DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America).
His faculty sponsor was Greg Hoffman, who is now president of Hoffman Financial Resources, 225 W. Austin Blvd., Suite 100, in Nevada, he noted.