New Industrial Arts class at SICS aims to develop lifelong skills

/New Industrial Arts class at SICS aims to develop lifelong skills

“Can I start building now?”

Those were the words of a very excited young student, ready to begin learning Industrial Arts at the Seabird Island Community School.

That excitement is shared by many other students who are so dedicated to the class that they choose to spend their lunch hour in the wood shop.

Teacher Don Pryzner joined the School on May 7 and his students have been busy designing and building in the shop at the high school ever since.

“I’ve got four or five kids that are here constantly, in and out, in and out, so I’ve got time to spend. It’s terrific, and I think that’s really good and it’s really good for the kids too and they’re lucky to have it.”

Students begin the class by assembling cutting boards using left over pieces of lumber to learn basic skills before moving on to larger projects.

“Normally we would have something compulsory to do,” explains Mr. Pryzner, but because his program started so late in the year, he’s trying to build interest by allowing students to dream up project ideas that benefit them at home.

One of the students, Cameron, is hard at work on a dog house. The idea and design are his own.

“He’s taken a picture of the dog house every step of the way. He’s very proud of it,” said Pryzner as he helped Cameron turn the dog house upright.

Cameron was more than happy to walk us through the process of building the dog house.

“We started off with the floor and worked up the sides.”

But the most exciting part is yet to come. Cameron can’t wait to begin attaching the roof shingles. Each of the cedar shingles is hand-cut by Cameron and he has to make dozens to cover the roof.
Like Cameron’s dog house, each student project is followed closely by Mr. Pryzner to ensure that students learning important skills – safely. Those skills can then be used to help students in adult life.

“You don’t have to be a master woodworker, but if you can fix your cupboard when it falls down, or build a step for your tool shed, things like that, it helps,” explained Don.


This years’ Industrial Arts class will operate on a budget of $400.00 for supplies which doesn’t go far with the price of lumber. One day, while building picnic tables, Mr. Pryzner saw an opportunity for students to develop skills and generate income for the class at the same time.

“Kids were coming in saying ‘I’d like to have one’,” so Don told the students that if they helped him make a few picnic tables for sale, the class would get to purchase more lumber for student projects and the students would be able to make and keep one of their own tables.

“The whole idea is that if they help out and do some of the work on it, then they sort of get an equity, a sweat equity.”

Thanks to sales so far, two students have received tables in trade for their hard work.

The tables, which are available in both 4’ and 6.5’ sizes, have been flying out the door.


“As soon as we made two, bang, away they went. So we made a third one and put it out there,” says Don, motioning to the high school lobby. A fourth table is currently in the works.

4’ tables are available for $100.00, and 6.5’ tables are $150.00. So, if you’re looking to purchase a picnic table this summer, why not help out students at Seabird Island Community School? Stop in and check them out.

By | 2017-09-06T08:06:38-08:00 June 1st, 2016|Categories: Elementary, High school|Tags: |Comments Off on New Industrial Arts class at SICS aims to develop lifelong skills

About the Author:

Seabird Island Community School is a Group One K-12 Independent school located 1 km from Agassiz on the beautiful Fraser River 120 km east of Vancouver.