SHERIDAN — Wayne Roadifer retired as Big Horn High School Principal in 2007 after decades in Wyoming schools as a teacher, coach and administrator. Later, he continued serving as a substitute teacher.
On Wednesday, he guest taught in the wood shop at Sheridan Junior High School, teaching sixth-graders how to make a bowl from a single one-inch thick board rather than a larger full block.
Roadifer said he tries to come to the school once every nine weeks when new students rotate into the course. He also teaches seventh- and eighth-graders at SJHS and Sheridan High School students.
This is students’ first course in the shop, Introduction to Industrial Technology, where they try out various shop equipment before having the chance to choose shop electives in seventh and eighth grade.
In addition to woodworking, students gain experience in computer-aided drafting and work with the school’s 3-D printer and laser engraver, according to industrial technology and woods teacher K.C. Fiedler.
Both Fiedler and Roadifer said that woodworking is the usual favorite among sixth-graders since they get to work with their hands, get dirty and make something new.
“There was a girl this morning with sawdust all over,” Roadifer said. “I asked her if it was a new hairstyle.”
Students made bats and bowls at first as they learned the tools.
“After we get safe and comfortable they’re allowed to do other things,” Fiedler said.
Fiedler said this was one of the smaller class sizes, which gave the students more time on the machines.
Aira Wesnitzer, 11, had a lathe to herself during Wednesday’s class to work on a candle holder for her mother. Tristan Kehrer also had a large candle holder in progress on the lathe.
“You get to pick out the design, the curves,” he explained.
Gunner Lamb, 11, had made a miniature baseball bat. Lamb and Tanner Hamrick, 11 were taking a ruler and magic marker to a long block of wood.
They explained they were measuring and marking the center to drill a hole to fit the piece onto the lathe.
“Right now we’re just screwing around and we make other stuff,” Hamrick said. “It’s awesome.”
Although retired, Roadifer continues teaching youth in the woodshop room, ones in which they enjoy and learn practical skills for their futures.