Not everyone has the desire to sit behind a desk all day to make a living. Some still want the satisfaction that comes from being a skilled craftsman and for one Boardman teacher, that opportunity became a mission.
Bob Day retired from Boardman High School last year after 39 years of teaching industrial arts. His first three years were spent at Maplewood High School in Mecca, before he transferred to Boardman. He did go back to school himself to earn his master's degree as well as an administration degree, but he stayed in the classroom where he was the most comfortable.
"I just loved working with kids," he said.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Boardman High School’s retired industrial arts department head Bob Day was recognized by the American Welding Society “for instructional performance devoted to the promotion of welding skills and knowledge.”
Teaching skills that young people could put to use in their careers was Day's mission in life. His expertise in the field of welding was the one gift that he was able to use to help so many kids go on to successful careers.
"I have a lot of success stories of kids who went on to secure welding careers or related fields," Day said. "One went to Disney World and got a job welding and setting up displays."
He said the student later joined the fire department in Florida. One particular day there was a problem with a chain saw and the young man took it apart to fix it. Other firefighters stood in awe and asked him where he learned to do that.
"He told them at Boardman High School," Day said.
Day not only taught industrial art skills, but he lived by what he taught. He and his wife Karen designed and built their Berlin Center home themselves. He said he enjoyed using tools and building things.
At Boardman High School, Day wanted to give his students the chance to build for themselves and get used to using the tools of the trades.
"I was always looking for projects I could get involved in," he said.
Six years ago he found the perfect project. The Canfield Fairgrounds needed to replace a lot of old deteriorating benches. Day approached them with the idea of supplying the materials and he would have his students make and assemble the benches.
"They learned good welding skills and a lot about fabrication," Day said. "The Fair Board would tell us how many they needed each year and we would build them."
Anyone who visits the fair can easily identify the benches Day's students built. Each has a well-assembled metal frame with the letters "BHS" welded into it.
"The kids were always excited to see their work at the fair," he said.
In fact, the benches were so well done that the fair had to secure them after each fair so they wouldn't be stolen, according to Day.
He said the fair project helped him teach a lot. The kids were able to get used to a plasma cutter for the design work as well as using a CNC computer to cut the wood for the benches.
Day's involvement with the Canfield Fair went well beyond just building benches. Both he and Karen are actively involved in 4-H. They are advisors for the Western Reserve Rangers 4-H club. They both serve on the small projects committee and offer their knowledge as project judges, Day in the wood, metal, and welding projects and Karen in the health field. Karen is a professor of nursing at the Kent State Trumbull branch.
The couple enjoyed watching their three boys and two girls move through the 4-H ranks and go on to be successful in life. Day's son Eric went on to become a teacher and he credits his career with what he learned in 4-H and Boy Scouts.
For Day, 39 years of teaching industrial arts has enabled him to see students become successful in that field. His work at Boardman High School and 4-H hasn't gone unnoticed either. Last fall, he was the recipient of the American Welding Society award for instructional performance devoted to the promotion of welding skills and knowledge.
"I came to learn that I was nominated by one of my former Boardman High School students," he said.
Although retired, Day still keeps active with 4-H. Recently he was the speaker for the Ranger's meeting. He gave a motivational talk on how 4-H develops leadership and public speaking skills and demonstrated how 4-H has helped all five of his children in their successful careers.
"4-H is a very good youth organization," Day said. "I am proud to be a part of it."