Marwood Veneer Client Jason Stange, Industrial Engineering Teacher for 23 Years, Runs the 2-Year Old BoardSport Engineering Program, Cadillac High School, Michigan designed for 10-12th graders
*Each BoardSport Engineering Program runs 12 weeks, twice during the in-school trimesters of the year.
Question #1: What inspired you to organize the program?
Jason Stange at Cadillac High School, MI: “Another school in Michigan approached us, having developed their own curricula, but for our school their curricula was a bit expensive, so I designed our own program instead after some research. We have a number of blue-collar families and a large free and reduced lunch program, serving the disadvantaged and minority population. We kicked off the program 2 years ago knowing we would start with skateboard and longboard construction and then add other types of boards. I had worked with longboards before and we use maple veneer for this.
This is not CA, so we opted not to get into the surfboard building, but we have just stepped into snowboards as another part of our program, buying a specialty press that weighs close to 1,500 lbs. just for this! It takes about 3 to 4 students to actually move it, even though it is on wheels.
The first student to get into the snowboard building process was Senior Jared Anderson this February. Once he completed the snowboard, he and I took it out on the slopes at Caberfae Resort nearby.
A snowboard build is much more complex than a regular skateboard build because it involves a wood core, fiberglass and wrapping metal edges. It’s all in the sizing and its got to be accurate and a specific shape. There are epoxy resins involved. The wood we use is poplar, ½” to 3/8” thick to start. A snowboard is just trickier to make all the way around.”
Question #2: How have your students responded to this BoardSport Engineering Program?
Jason Stange at Cadillac High School, MI: “They want more. We’ve had over 100 students in the program over the first two years and we’ve kept a scrapbook of pictures and memories. Most of the skateboards they have produced are actually used. Seniors like to take them to college for transportation on the campus. Others make them for their siblings. And, many just get out there and exercise with them. That’s what I like to see.”
Question #3: What is the future for this program?
Jason Stange at Cadillac High School, MI: “Skateboard building is affordable and the students love it, so we will be continuing with that. For those that want more of a challenge, building a snowboard is a possibility. And, soon we will look at building paddleboards. The program is called BoardSport Engineering because we intend to expand and grow. We will explore more company donations of product to keep the builds affordable. We’ve had support from Never Summer Industries out West for snowboard cores, and we intend to pursue other companies, like partnership with Jessup for grip tape. The program serves about 24 students each trimester, and skateboarding it’s a great way to get the kids out for physical exercise on a product they actually built in class.”