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Hartselle Enquirer

Morgan County Tech Park students building for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing

By Wes Tomlinson

Special to the Enquirer

FLORETTE — When Mazda Toyota Manufacturing representatives toured Brewer High last month during discussions on workforce partnerships, a display suddenly caught their eye.

Two custom cornhole boards with an emblem representing the Morgan County school district’s Technology Park were hanging in the tech program’s workshop located at Brewer. Students in the program had built those cornhole boards as well as others over the past few years. The MTM officials were intrigued.

“They told us, ‘Hey, we can’t get quality cornhole boards,’” said Technology Park Director Jeremy Childers. “They said every time they buy cornhole boards, they tear up and fall apart, so they asked us to make 10 sets.”

With two boards in each set, the Technology Park students are producing 20 boards for MTM, which will make a donation for the tech program’s use.

Cornhole is a lawn game in which participants toss bean bags into the hole of two raised, angled boards. The goal is to get the bean bags on the boards or in the holes.

Childers said although they built cornhole boards in the past, this is the first time they’ve constructed higher quality boards.

“We’re building these with real 2-by-4s and three-quarter-inch plywood instead of particle wood like we did in the past,” Childers said.

Agriscience students cut and assembled the boards, which are ready for the painting stage. Students in the auto collision repair program will use air brushes and stencils to apply paint and logos.

There are about 180 students in the district’s agriscience and auto collision repair programs this year, and Childers said the cornhole board project is a good

opportunity for students to develop a work ethic. He said this project is mainly for seniors in those programs.

“They’re building something a company is going to have on display,” Childers said. “What we’re teaching them is purpose and being good at something. You’ll always be successful if you’re good at something.”

Brewer seniors Zach Woods and Sonny Walley have been in the auto collision repair program since they were freshmen and have designed dozens of cornhole boards in that time. They painted the blue flames and the Tech Park emblem on the boards that got the attention of the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing representatives and led to the partnership.

“(Walley) drew the flames, then we outlined them with tape and painted them,” Woods said. “The design and building phase took us about three or four weeks.”

The sound of power tools could be heard this month as agriscience students cut and measured wood to build the perimeters of the cornhole boards.

Childers said the new boards will not feature hand-drawn designs because of time concerns.

Walley said, “We’ll … have a stencil made with the logos and everything on it and just paint over it. When it dries, we’ll pull it off and it’ll look the same as the designs (Mazda Toyota) wants us to do.”

Childers said the goal is to have the boards ready in time for Mazda Toyota’s fall festival in November.

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