TROUP — Wesley Thompson and Drew York recently learned that hours of hard work can pay off big and instill pride.
The Troup High School agriculture students spent an estimated 15 to 20 hours creating pieces to sell at last week's Troup Rotary Club auction. York, a sophomore, built his first bench by cutting and welding.
“I never used any of that stuff before and never welded before until this year. … I didn't really know what to do, so I started (with) a bench,” he said.
Thompson, a junior, made a fire pit. Like York, he said he learned how to weld, and making an octagon shape was his most challenging endeavor.
Thompson and York are two of about 20 agriculture students and 60 art students who participated in the rotary auction, which raised money for scholarships and featured Walt Cade, a professional auctioneer from the A&E network show “Storage Wars: Texas.” York's bench sold for $475 while Thompson's fire pit sold for $300.
“The community was out here supporting us, (and) it shows all the students … how much the community cares …” Troup High School agriculture teacher Preston Lindsey said. “It's just the support that they see. Not only are they learning something ... how to figure out how to cut angles. … But I want them to learn creativity and a sense of self accomplishment to start and finish something then see it being used.”
“A lot of our students maybe (don't) have funds or resources to build projects on their own, but they want to build stuff and they say ‘Hey, what can I build?'” he said.
“I tell them they can build this and if it goes in the auction, it will help you create and learn a skill and craft and be eligible for the scholarship.”
Troup art teacher Pam Starkey said the auction also is a way for her students to share their talent with the community and show what they accomplished in class. That included self portraits as well as work done in the style of artist James Rizzi.
“The audience had a good reaction because they're fun to view,” she said. “That was our most successful auction.”
York enjoyed the process so much that he agreed to start making another bench over the weekend. As for Thompson, he plans on taking an agriculture shop class again next year.