Abraxas Academy Woodshop and Greenhouse Programs

August 14th, 2019

Abraxas Academy is Teaching Skills and Developing Competencies to Help Build Better Futures through their Woodshop and Greenhouse Programs

Horticulture and Carpentry are two of the PACTT (Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training Alliance) programs of study at Abraxas Academy. The Abraxas Academy Greenhouse program provides students with an opportunity to learn about the numerous aspects of horticulture and agriculture using a hands-on and independent research based approach. This program encourages students to complete a list of competencies introducing skills and concepts related to: safe and proper use of landscape equipment, basic botany, plant and soil science, proper plant care practices, sustainable horticulture, horticulture technology, and plant identification. In addition to the educational aspect of the program, the students also participate in numerous community service projects including but not limited to, the construction of wreaths for Wreaths Across America and the production of seedlings for community gardens. Each year students are able to choose from a plethora of available flower seeds that they can then grow and nurture in order to give as gifts to their families, donate to organizations like Safe Berks, or just plant around the facility to create therapeutic green spaces. Furthermore, the animal husbandry program teaches students how to properly raise and care for goats, pigs and chickens. Ultimately, the greenhouse is a place where students can try something new, experience the natural sciences with their hands in the dirt and learn skills that can help them find a job after completing the program.

The Carpentry program in the Abraxas Academy Woodshop is presently focusing on small projects that students can select from a list that involve the use of all the equipment in the shop. Students can also elect to construct a project of their own design with size and cost limitations. Students are taught to utilize various skills required to complete projects such as; measurement, operation of the table-saw, thickness planer, band saw, scroll saw, combination miter saw, sanders, drills, impact drivers and hand tools. They also learn wood working techniques such as joinery, sanding and finishing. Some of the woodshop’s facility projects have included chairs and benches, personalized cutting boards for staff weddings, storage sheds, a gazebo for clinical sessions, picnic tables and lawn games for students.

My goal for our program is to interest residents in the trades for employment or to continue on to a trade school to further their skill level and to inspire creativity of their minds and hands.

Jeff Swavely