By Cassidy Scherzer, Current Staff
The dedication of a few manufacturing students allowed the West Bend High Schools to save several thousand dollars.
Seven students that are a part of the Capstone Manufacturing class at WBHS dedicated a large portion of the 2022-2023 school year to building a set of podiums for West Bend athletics. This was an alternative to purchasing new podiums which would have cost around $20,000. The manufacturing class was able to create them for less than $3,000.
These podiums will be used at the end of competitions for sports like track and field, cross country, wrestling and gymnastics. Athletes who placed in positions one through six will line up on the podiums during award ceremonies.
This whole project began due to a simple request from the WBHS athletics department.
“(West athletic director Erin Felber) had said she wanted to buy new podiums for the school and the podiums she was looking at were really expensive,” Jacob Gitter, the Capstone Manufacturing teacher, said. “She asked if we thought it was something we could make and I decided to give it a try.”
Felber says Gitter and his students did a great job on the project.
“We are incredibly grateful for their hard work and the time they dedicated to this amazing project,” Felber said.
The podiums are made of sheets of stainless steel that were cut out and fixed to an aluminum frame.
“The (stainless steel) is something that I’ve had for a long time,” Gitter said. “It was donated by Maysteel Industries. So I’ve had it for probably 10 years. We’ve been slowly using it over the years, but this project used a good amount. And it was free and it worked for exactly what we needed.”
“We are incredibly grateful for their hard work and the time they dedicated to this amazing project.”
Erin Felber, West athletic director
The project was extensive. The class was given the original idea in October and had sheets of metal cut out and ready to be used around winter break. The entire project was not complete until mid-April.
However, their hard work was worth it.
“I’ve been teaching this class since 2014, so about nine years, and always enjoy watching the kids work together to make something out of scraps and recycled materials,” Gitter said.
The students had a similar opinion.
“The entire project was enjoyable but the design process was probably the hardest part,” West senior Brady Davidson said. “We had to make sure they were safe and sturdy enough for up to four people to stand on each one (for relay teams in track). We also had to make sure they would stack so they could be portable. In order to make it easy to move the podiums around the school, we also made a trailer to put them in.”
Davidson stressed that teamwork is important in this class and for this project.
“There were seven of us that worked on the project and everybody did their part and filled in. That’s important because it allows us to be efficient and because this class is ‘graded’ on a few things. Whether you finish on time, if you collaborate with everyone. It all factors in,” Davidson said.
It was also important that the podiums were created to be neutral between East and West and all sports. This would ensure that they were being used as efficiently as possible and for a wide variety of sports among both schools.
The podiums were not the only project the Capstone Manufacturing class worked on this year.
“This class is very project-based,” Davidson said. “A few things we made this year were the podiums, some parts for the diving blocks along the pool, and metal signs and art to sell in the community. We work on many projects simultaneously.”
(Image: Manufacturing students from the West Bend High Schools stand on the podiums they built. Their teacher, Jacob Gitter, is pictured far right. Photo courtesy of Erin Felber.)