LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) When school districts look at cutting programs, electives like woodshop classes are often on the chopping block. At Joe T. Robinson High School, Mr. Howell Jackson is one of two teachers left in the Pulaski County Special School District. Jackson's passion for the craft is so big he built his students and the school a sawmill.
It would cost more than $6 thousand to buy a saw mill. Instead, Woodshop teacher Howell Jackson made building a saw mill into a class project.
"I don't know of another school that built a sawmill. I don't even know of another school in Arkansas that owns a sawmill," says Jackson. "Not all students can afford the large amount of wood we need to make for a significant project."
"I've made a night stand. I've made of course this chair. I've made a pencil box and a storage container," says Senior Logan Howard.
Howard has fallen in love with woodshop class.
"I've never got to work with my hands like this before," says Howard.
Jackson isn't taking any credit even for the barbecue area they created.
"Every nine weeks, I have a celebration. And we have hamburger cookouts," says Jackson.
"Mr. Jackson didn't build this. Students built this."
Jackson should take some credit for bringing in the lumber. He owns farmland and cuts down trees.
"I enjoy seeing students succeed and the only way they can succeed is if they have material to complete project," says Jackson.
The woodshop teacher at Maumelle High School is retiring this year. Jackson says he doesn't know if he'll be replaced because of the district's financial situation. That would make Jackson the only woodshop teacher in the Pulaski County Special School District come August.