Every year I look forward to judging the high school competition called the North West Technology Education Association of Missouri (TEAM) Awards contest. Our local woodworkers Guild is invited to judge the woodworking entries, and every year eight of us are either selected, or we volunteer to judge the entries. This year the event was once again hosted by the Missouri Western State University campus in St. Joseph, MO, about 10 minutes from our house.
If you would like to read my report for the 2010 TEAM Award results, click here.
The following is the entry we felt was the best in the woodworking category, and will be going to the State competition is Sedalia, Missouri, May 5-6, 2011. We awarded this nice game table 99 points out of 100 maximum possible. The joinery was all mortise & tenon, including the mitered table top; the aprons were also joined to the legs using mortise and tenon joinery. We did not award 100 points because we felt that a little more effort would have resulted in better grain match at the mitered corners; and two of the squares were off at the corners by about 1/16-inch. That aside, the table was terrific:
We spent a bit of time trying to decide whether the legs were bought, or whether they were made by the student. In the end we decided the legs were made by the student, as revealed by the variations in measurements near the bottom of the legs – it was this detail that proved a deciding factor to award a high score to this entry:
The table top was close to perfect. I was impressed with the perfect miters, and with the mortise & tenon joinery at the miters. And, as I mentioned above, the quality of the match of the squares in this board was near perfect:
I believe this entry will do well in competition at State level, which will be held May 5 and 6 in Sedalia, Missouri.
My impressions about the 2011 woodworking competition:
The first thing I noticed on entering the gymnasium where the competition is normally held was the significantly lower number of entries, compared to years past. There was no question in my mind that less time is being spent by High School kids working on “shop projects” or, as it called today, Technology Education. The following is the complete list of categories that make up Technology Education in Missouri:
Drafting – Architectural
Drafting – Mechanical
Power and Energy
I am saddened by the reduced number of entries, and hope that, as a State, Missouri will find a way to reverse the trend. I am convinced that, ultimately, it is our children who will miss learning opportunities available only in the classes covered by this program. One of the main factors in decreased enrollment is a critical shortage of qualified teachers in the schools. I sincerely hope this changes during my lifetime; the State must find way to provide incentives to teachers to enter this wonderful part of our educational system.
I will continue to work on preparing a slide show of the remaining entries in the 2011 TEAM Awards, and will post it when finished.