With Future Farmers of America Week six weeks away, Grantsville High School Agriculture Mechanics teacher Grant Peterson was trying to think of a way to get kids and their parents excited about FFA.
He recalled the time when he was a little boy that his elementary school hosted “Dads and Donuts.” “Gosh,” he thought, “If I can eat a donut with my dad and read a book, why can’t I have moms in the metal shop?”
So on Feb. 12 and 13, Peterson’s four high school classes hosted their first ever “Moms in the Metal Shop,” where moms could enjoy a Valentine cookie, then work on projects with their son or daughter.
“It’s great,” Peterson told an afternoon class. “Moms can get out of their shell, do some work, and see what this is all about.”
Peterson also asked the kids to make a recipe holder as a surprise gift for their moms. “It may be a bit cheesy,” he told a classroom full of students and moms, “but you’ll always remember this.”
A recent experience brought this home for him.
“Last weekend, I was visiting my grandmother who is 96 going on 97, and as I was cooking her breakfast, I saw this recipe holder on the counter,” he said. “It was a stupid-looking cactus thing, probably from 30 years ago. But she’s kept it all these years.”
“Hopefully with the projects you make [your mom] today,” he added, “you’ll remember, ‘She did it with me.’ ”
It’s also a good excuse to take a moment to think of what their mothers mean to them, Peterson said.
At Moms in the Metal Shop, moms and their son or daughter students chose one of four projects: A red wind chime with a black Grantsville “G” logo in the middle; a coat rack customized with a family name; a picture frame that holds 15 photos; and another sign featuring the family’s name or a welcome message.
And then they got down to work. Students wore their coveralls and gloves, while their moms wore safety glasses. Peterson demonstrated how to cut scrap metal using computerized templates on a CNC plasma cutter.
Everyone fanned out and worked on buffing their projects with grinders and cleaning metal with paint thinner and paper towels.
Some moms smiled nervously as they donned welding helmets and took up a buffing tool called “grinders,” but as they operated it, they quickly gained confidence.
Tracy Beckett, who was making house numbers and an address block with her son, Nate, said Moms in the Metal Shop was a great idea.
“I loved it,” she said. “I thought it was a great way for moms and their kids to spend time together. It helped me understand what metal shop is.”
Debby Blackhurst and her son, Paul, made a wind chime with a rooster in the middle. “I loved how Mr. Peterson said when he needs to relax, he works on something [in the shop]. If I need to relax, I work on something with my hands and create something.”
She and Paul also made a coat rack. “It’s great,” she said. “You can’t have too many coat racks.”