Fremont, Mich. (WZZM) -- Children in Newaygo County will be waking up to handmade sleds this Christmas thanks to the students elves and Toys for Tots volunteers at Fremont High School.
Hammering, sawing, and assembling can be heard down the hall as several shop students have turned the classroom into a toy factory. "I would say this is pretty good indication of what the North Pole looks like," explains teacher Rick Tank. "Currently we are making 50 old fashioned snow sleds for Toys for Tots."
For six years Rick has been using his shop class to teach his students the basics of wood working and giving back to the community. "Taking something that was nothing and turning it into something for some little kid is basically the entire idea behind this," explains Tank.
The sled starts out as a piece of donated wood from Gerber Nestle. The wood is then cut, shaped, sanded, and assembled by several high school students over a couple of days.
"Most kids these days know how to operate a controller, but how many know how to use a screwdriver or power tool for that matter?" says Tank.
Students crowd around workshop tables, putting the last of the screws on a finished sled. Allison Kublin, a Fremont student enjoys the work. "It is another way of learning and expressing ourselves and it gets us away from pencils and tests for awhile."
As shop programs are cut from the curriculum at high schools across the country, Rick is in no fear of Fremont's class going away. "We have a great sense of pride for our program and the community of Fremont supports the program."
The 50 sleds get piled up in the hallway and in a couple days they will be painted and given to 50 children for Christmas.
"I tell them to think of the kids and the look they will have on their faces on Christmas morning," explains Tank.