Photos by Rome City Schools

Rome Middle School students have been given a variety of opportunities to discover multiple new career paths and hobbies, some of which include hands-on activities such as construction.

Jacob Addison, Rome Middle School’s construction teacher, leads the introductory course for woodworking and construction skills, which prepares those 7th and 8th grade students interested in the construction business, for the College and Career Academy at Rome High School. The program not only offers training for construction, but it also offers preparation for careers such as Sports Medicine, Audio and Visual Arts and Pre-Law.

“I really felt like we needed a feeder program that would assist the students with their direction in high school,” explained Addison. “I knew, at the middle school level, we could expose these kids with as much as they can get their hands on, which will give them a clearer direction and help to open the doors for more pathways.”

“They might want learn about framing and fine tune their skills with cabinet making. There are even options to pursue careers as an electrician or a plumber. This is just a great place for students to start learning how to work with their hands,” said Addison.

Addison’s construction class in an introductory look at working with basic tools and how to use them safely. The first three weeks of the course is entirely based on safety, as students are not even allowed to pick up a ruler until they have passed their safety test with a one-hundred percent. Once that has been achieved, students then work on measurements of many different objects. When these basic skills have been mastered, students begin learning the basic fundamentals of working with hammers, hand saws and screw drivers.

Addison continued to explain the steps he takes in preparing these children, “As they progress, we start working with the wood planer, different electric saws and power drills. The most import thing we preach is safety and their supervision is my top priority. As the year advances, students will bring in pictures of items they would like to build, and we sit down and create the plans to design them,” said Addison.

At the end of the year, students wrap up with a final project, made from scratch. Students have to design the blueprints, calculate the measurements and complete the final build. According to Addison, “It’s a wonderful way to teach our up and coming students’ ways to construct something with their own hands and complete it.”