When Marble Falls High School cross-country coach Chris Schrader needed signs for the school’s course, he made a beeline to the construction trades building to speak with teacher Shawn Reed.
Schrader had a sense of urgency because he scheduled two home cross-country meets on Oct. 3 and Oct. 24.
It didn’t take long for Reed to jump aboard the project, seeing it as a learning opportunity for his career and technical students.
“It gives them a project that they can see to completion,” Reed said. “A completed well-put-together project is the end goal. It’s often easy to start a project and give up halfway through. They are senior-level students, so this gives them practice cutting, measuring, fitting, and welding.”
Schrader approached Reed at the end of the summer with his request and vision for what the signs should look like, adding he’d buy the materials. In all, the students created 11 signs to mark 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 meters and 1, 2, 3, and 4 miles.
Reed said his students spent the month of September working on the project, about 90 minutes each day. But before any cutting and welding occurred, the students discussed the most efficient way to use the material.
“They learned welding is the very last part, and all the other steps must be done correctly for a project to go together nicely,” Reed said.
After the students finished, Schrader contacted David Kava with Cohesive Coatings to apply the powder coating, which will protect the signs from Mother Nature.
Kava was so inspired by the students’ work and willingness to help their fellow classmates that he donated his services and material, Schrader said.
After Kava finished, the coach invited Reed and his students to see their signs, and they were blown away.
“Seeing the powder coat finish really put the finishing touch on them,” Reed said. “When they left the shop, they were just black, dusty signs. When they first saw them, they even said, ‘Wow!’ like it was their first time to see the signs.”
Schrader said the signs will ensure runners stay on the proper course, and he was thrilled the trades students received practical experience and the recognition for a job well done.
“Most kids don’t get recognized if you’re doing things outside of sports,” Schrader said. “These kids did a pretty good job.”
The Saturday, Oct. 3, meet begins at 9 a.m. at the high school, 2101 Mustang Drive. Admission is free. Spectators must watch from the stands and wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.