Carver students add new sparkle to Coonskin holiday displays – Charleston Gazette-Mail

December 24, 2021 by No Comments

Carver Career and Technical Education Center students have garnered glowing reviews for the literally brilliant work they have done for the Christmas light displays at Coonskin Park this holiday season.

Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Department Executive Director Jeff Hutchinson said his department approached the electrical class at the Malden school several months ago to ask if the students could — and would be willing — to use their training, skills and ingenuity to upgrade and convert Coonskin’s traditional holiday lights into LED versions.

Along with adding luminescent pizzazz throughout Coonskin Park, “the LED lights would last longer and be more energy efficient,” Hutchinson explained.

“We started last spring and the students worked until summer break,” he said. “We ordered the LED lights from China, so we had a heck of a time getting them, with the supply-chain situation — we didn’t get them until October.

“Meanwhile, the Carver welding class helped shore up some of the older structures. One is a police car display up there that they did. When the bulbs finally arrived, the electrical class went in and lit all of it. There are about 20 displays they did for us.”

Carver math teacher Sara Hampton said at least 40 students participated in the police car project. “The students not only worked on the lights, but they made some of the displays bigger,” Hampton recounted last week. “They started with the police car. The welding students doubled it in size. In order to do that, they had to partner with the graphic design students. The original police car was 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall. The graphic design students made a print-out of it at its full size and then printed out a 16-foot-by-8-foot car. The welding students then taped it to the floor and went to work.”

As their work progressed, the Carver welding students ordered the requisite steel for the project and welded it meticulously to their emergent design, Hampton said.

“After that, the collision repair class spray-painted it white and they brought that to the electrical class to put on the new lights.

“It was a really cool project. It allowed the students to collaborate with Coonskin and to collaborate with other classes. At Carver, we try to have classes as a simulated workplace and this project let them do that,” Hampton said.

Riverside High School senior Matthew Armstrong was part of the electrical class team of approximately 20 students on the joint endeavor, working on six of the displays himself. “We took a lot of time doing all of this,” Armstrong said. “We had to design it ourselves. We had to pay a lot of attention to detail, like if one of the lights had gone out or making sure they all matched. We spent every bit of free time we had on it; we were always working on the lights. Each of us had a hand in working with it.”

Lacey Carpenter, also a senior at Riverside, was among the graphic design students who participated in the Carver lighting alliance. “I tried to make to make sure our design was not only functional,” the 17-year-old said, “but that people who saw it would like the look of it. I’ve worked on designs before here, but this was the first one for a public audience. We had to collaborate with multiple, different classes. It was a ginormous layout, but I loved it and just tried to do my best to make it pleasing for the …….

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