Saws, Knives and Welders: What Could Go Wrong?


Source: Larry Moore

Student working on a project in an industrial class.

Ryder Dodd, Staff Writer

You may have heard your parents reminiscing about their “shop” class days or Home Ec where they got to build and cook. That’s because most middle schools used to offer these classes as electives. In fact, McAuliffe Middle School used to have an Industrial Tech and Home Economics elective to teach kids life skills. 

McAuliffe alumnus and current teacher Mr. Grillo explained, “these electives taught me life skills such as cooking, and how to work with materials and tools to build unique objects.” Grillo added, “I took these classes because it was something interesting.” 

According to Grillo, “Industrial tech was an elective that you could take that would teach you how to use certain tools.” These tools usually consisted of a saw, knives, and spot welders, which could be used to make a box or a skateboard. In fact, Grillo says he still has the box he made in this class today.  

Furthermore, Grillo added that these electives “were designed to give you a sample of other hobbies, interests, or skills.” He then elaborated about the Industrial Tech elective and how “it allowed kids that didn’t like other subjects to explore things that they might like.”

 Additionally, Home Economics was an elective that taught students how to cook, sew, and have table manners. In Home Economics, according to Grillo, students got to make meals and the teacher would grade based on how well they cooked it and how well their table manners were. In the other half of the class, students were able to make pillows and learn how to sew.

These electives were not just about fun. Students also had to put in the work before they could cook or make something and they had to learn how to use certain tools like a saw or a spot welder. Because of the dangers in each of these classes, teachers expected students to behave maturely and always think before doing.