Elsie Arnos poses with the students’ AutoCad-designed, Torchmate CNC-programmed and powder coated flag honoring our veterans’ sacrifice for our freedom.

Stryker FFA has had many new learning adventures in the 2020-21 school year, some from life and some from COVID, and throughout it all, students have learned flexibility and are actually ahead of the normal schedule for the school year.

Over 20 community service projects have been completed by students for local individuals, farmers and business owners. Some highlights of the variety of this school year are: CNC topographic maps of the entire United States machined out of wood, new animals born or hatched, baby rabbits and chicks, 40 yellow perch raised throughout the school year, and two students’ competition in an FFA virtual career development event this fall.

The students made and sold over 1,000 steel and wooden projects for our sixth annual FFA Fruit Sale this past fall. Some of these projects included large outdoor steel signs, plasma cut flags, Merry Christmas signs and wooden step stools. Students choose projects that require programming and operating this equipment using a variety of materials including paper, plastic, wood and metal. They are mastering Mastercam, AutoCad, Solidworks, Aspire, Torchmate, Tinkercad and Cura software to operate this equipment. Mr. Arnos has actively been in contact with industry in an effort to ensure the classroom experience provides value to the students. He is finding industry very willing to take an active role in providing this information and materials for the Career Tech Education programs being taught at Stryker Schools.

Many companies have also assisted in acquiring equipment for the school and providing expertise with the setup and operation of the equipment. Students have learned how to powder coat their steel projects. A grant was used to purchase a powder coating machine and a powder coating oven was donated. Spax Screw Company has also been beneficial to help students reach their full potential. Several students are assisting with the scheduling process as project managers and are gaining experiences that will help them in a manufacturing leadership role. Additionally there are currently 25 Stryker FFA students enrolled in the HAAS-CNC Industry Credential program that will be certified by the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Many students are in the process of becoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration-Safety Industry credentialed. Stryker’s FFA shop activities are very unique and groundbreaking in providing students with real-world experiences about working environments.

Stryker Schools is also reaching its younger students to better prepare them for FFA with the Panther Ed Tech elementary program which is in its second year at Stryker providing project-based learning activities. This kindergarten-through-sixth grade program introduces students to 3-D modeling, 2-D design, graphic design, STEM, laser cutting, CNC wood routing, CNC HAAS mill machining, robotics, electrical circuits, 3-D printing, vinyl cutting, basic hand tools, power tool identifications, green screen production of movies and many more hands-on projects. This helps students to have a great knowledge base coming up with both projects and machines.

Stryker FFA spent much time in appreciation for our U.S. veterans this year. Students hand wrote thank you cards, planned and made a Veterans Day meal they served at the Stryker American Legion Hall for our vets and their spouses. Veterans’ flags were also created, made and presented to each veteran as a small way to honor and thank them for their service.

These flags’ symbolization is as follows: made in America by American high school students; crisp, clean, proud American flag design without any blemishes; solid rivet construction to simulate airplane construction; copper rivet material used to remember the bullets of war; black background for all the MIA and POW; durable military spec steel; paracord for survival; heavy weight for the most powerful military force in the world; marking on the clear coated steel face for the blood that was shed by our service men and women for the freedom of our country; and a thank you on the back for next year’s generation to thank this year’s sacrifice. We don’t know them all but we owe them all ... Thank you veterans!

(Information courtesy Stryker FFA)

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