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Sterling Heights teens building a reputation through their woodworking classes

Posted at 4:03 PM, Mar 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 21:47:41-04

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Woodworking students in Sterling Heights are building a reputation for designing custom-made paddleboards. Some of their celebrity clientele includes Sir Richard Branson, Kenny Chesney and Ty Pennington.

That's why Heather, Hannah, and Jacob say they never knew that learning could be so fun.

"I had friends who took the class, and they just made longboards and stuff, but I never knew they made stuff like this," said Senior Jacob Haberski. 18-year-old Jacob is referring to this paddleboard that the group built for country music star Kenny Chesney. Heather, a senior, says a lot of thought went into the design.

"The key things would be 'Who Lives Like We do? We do!' which his tour name and the other thing was his fan base and also the snapshot of him," said Heather Gravely. When Gravely was first assigned that project, the 17-year-old was excited and nervous because she didn't want to mess up a celebrity's board.

That's why their teacher, Chris Davis, says that the class teaches responsibility, which is critical for their growth as a student and as a person. "Most time when they come in here, they’ve never built some of the stuff before just like anything they take on in life and at the end, you get to look back and look at some of the projects that you’ve made from scratch and be proud of that," said Woodworking Teacher Davis.

The cherry on top is when celebrities rave about their paddleboards.

"'My paddleboard is so beautiful it's art,' 'I'm going to hang it on the wall,' and 'you guys are super talented,'" said Sara Blakely and Jessie Itzler.

Meanwhile, Junior Hannah Everette, says being part of the team brings her a lot of pride and bragging rights, especially when she got to work on Extreme Makeover Home Edition's former host Ty Pennington's paddleboard. "We had to make it a feather because he is into feathers and like all that kind of things," said Everette.

It took less than six months to complete this 30-pound paddleboard, and for Ty Pennington, that's impressive.

"The fact that you guys are not only shaping but building this incredible vehicle for me to enjoy in the world is amazing, so guys, thank you so much. I will be following the process on Instagram. I can’t wait to see what this is going to look like. I’m super stoked," said Pennington.

Paddleboards made by Henry Ford II High School students are not for sale, but you can get one made by placing a donation. However, Davis says the wait time is three years out with back-to-back orders. But if you want to try your luck, contact the team through Instagram @henryfordiiwoodworking