Some classes are not at all suited to distance learning. Hands-on classes like wood shop, for example.

But thanks to a partnership with Modern Design, three spring wood shop classes at Waconia High School have become much more meaningful these final weeks of a school term interrupted by COVID-19.

The Cologne custom cabinetry shop has designed and developed kits that were handed out this week to some 90 students enrolled in three shop classes (two beginner and one advanced) to complete before the end of the school year.

Wood shop students have spent the past few weeks of distance learning on classroom topics like drafting, technical writing and safety, notes industrial arts teacher Dave Aeling.

“Now students are getting at least something like they signed up for – a project like we would normally do out in the shop if schools were open,” he said.

The beginner version is a jewelry box; the advanced version is a model airplane.

Students were instructed to properly, assemble, join, sand and finish their assigned kit, which were distributed drive-by outside the WHS wood shop to ensure social distancing.

Aeling called Modern Design’s donation very generous, noting that kits involved not only materials, but also engineering and shop time to design and cut out the components.

Owners Troy and Jo Eiden serve on a School District 110 trades advisory group along with other local partners in manufacturing, automotive, electrical and construction, the Waconia Chamber of Commerce, teachers and administration. And a few Waconia grads work in their 43,000-square-foot cabinetry shop in downtown Cologne.

Modern Design has been in business for over 25 years, working with some of the best builders in the Twin Cities area.

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