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The Mount Angel high school's fledgling CTE program received a boost in $2,850 of construction equipment from local donors

COURTESY PHOTO: SEDCOR - (From left) Withers Lumber vice president of sales John Gooley, Kennedy High School teacher Korrie Shull and SEDCOR retention and expansion manager Nick Harville selected construction equipment to donate to Shull's classroom.Imagine for a moment trying to do your job without the proper tools or equipment.

Now try to envision what it would be like to teach wood and metal shop to 16 high school students without construction tools.

Korrie Shull knows exactly what it was like to be in that predicament. As the agriculture science and technology teacher and FFA adviser at Kennedy High School in Mount Angel, Shull said she has been borrowing tools from either the district's maintenance department, the IT director who shares the building or her husband to teach her students construction skills.

Laughing as she stood at Home Depot in Salem watching employees load a shopping cart and two utility carts with hammers, a 15-piece screwdriver set, tape measures, nail guns, drill, tool belts, portable table saw, a dust collector, hoses, air compressor and more, Shull said she felt like it was Christmas in March.

She is more than grateful for the gift of $2,850 in contractor tools thanks to donations from Withers Lumber Co., Home Depot, the Mount Angel Oktoberfest Board of Directors, and Nick and Ginger Harville.

John Gooley, who is the vice president of sales for Withers Lumber, said his company contributed $1,500, Home Depot $800, Oktoberfest $250 and the Harvilles $300 for a total of $2,850 in donations.

Besides the tools, Shull said she also received a priceless gift: the guidance and support from Gooley and Nick Harville, who is the retention and expansion manager for SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation).

Shull said she attended a SEDCOR Construction Alliance meeting in the fall and shared how she had a classroom and desks but not even construction pencils to teach wood shop class.

"Partnering with Nick and John has been invaluable," Shull said, adding she encourages teachers to make connections with local business leaders. "They have helped to create opportunities for me and my students."

One such example, Shull said, is she took a tour of GK Machine, Inc. in Donald with Harville. After learning about her need for equipment, GK Machine donated a hammer drill.

Gooley said once Withers Lumber learned Kennedy High School needed contractor tools, it was eager to help out and make a donation. The same was true for the Oktoberfest board, of which Gooley is a member, along with Mount Angel contractor Chris Bischoff.

"Whenever we asked, people just stepped up to help," Harville said.

During the first semester, Shull said she taught leadership and FFA classes. If she didn't have the new construction tools this spring, she said she would be showing videos, handing out worksheets, having her students do classroom activities and continuing to borrow tools to scrape by.

"These tools mean everything to our students," she said. "I can actually start teaching them hands-on applicable skills."

Her goal is to have her students build planter boxes, wood signs and a shed to sell Mother's Day weekend, with the proceeds going back into the program to purchase more equipment. For lumber, Shull said she and her students are recycling the wood from old pallets.

A 1975 graduate of Kennedy High School, Gooley said he knows many builders who took the shop class with him.

"Our goal with SEDCOR Construction Alliance is to get kids involved in the industry," Gooley said. "We are pleased how this worked out."COURTESY PHOTO: SEDCOR - Kennedy High School students pose with the $2,850 worth of donated construction equipment.

Having the tools to teach her class will benefit all students who take it, whether they decide to go on to be a doctor or work in the construction industry, Shull said.

"This is hands-on applicable real-life skills," she said. "Everyone needs to know how to use a hammer no matter what path they take in life."

Shull said now all she has to figure out is how to show her gratitude for the tremendous support she has received from Withers Lumber, Home Depot, the Oktoberfest Board and the Harvilles.

"How do I show my appreciation to everyone who donated so we could purchase these tools?" she said. "I don't think I will ever be able to say thank you enough."