Well, it is October 1st, one month into the school year, and I AM STILL A NBSS STUDENT. Contrary to what the unwelcomed and intrusive voices tell me when fear creeps in throughout the day, my teacher has not told me that I would be better off taking up ANY other career BUT carpentry…yet.  I am writing this blog post, which is strong evidence that I am still alive. Thus, I have not mortally wounded myself or anyone else with any sharp tools yet, which is a big accomplishment considering I was battling a cold with regular sneezing fits during the two days we were hewing with large axes at Hatch Mill. In spite of the fact that I have a mischievous sense of humor, quick comebacks, and have seen the inside of the principal’s office more than a couple of times in my school career, I have not been disciplined, suspended or expelled from school yet :) My experience at North Bennet Street School has been nothing short of encouraging, inspiring, and empowering thus far. Students, teachers, and administrators have all been kind, supportive, and accomodating. They have welcomed me  as a novice carpenter;  and one by one, the teachers are helping me build a solid foundation of skills, which I can take with me into the workforce after graduation.

I must admit I have been “slacking” when it comes to writing blog posts about school. In fact, if you pay attention to detail, you may have noticed that I started this post on October 1st, and finished it 18 days later. Part of the reason for this is because I am insanely busy, and finding time to do write blog posts has been difficult. I get a chuckle when I think about what I pictured before school started. I thought I would have ample time and space to leisurely write daily posts on my train ride home each day. I didn’t account for the crowded trains in which I am often standing. I didn’t think about needing to use every free moment to catch up on school readings. Lastly, I definitely didn’t anticipate the level of exhaustion I’d feel and how I’d be battling to stay out of a constant nod on my way home. Alas, it is 6 weeks into school, and I am submitting my first blog post about this school year. Sorry folks, but this is the best I can do at the moment.

While I am not discussing any preservation projects in this particular blog, I will share why I am making quite a name for myself thus far; and then will include some of the shots I’ve taken of my classroom, classmates, and job sites over the last few weeks.

I am quite humbled and grateful to have been chosen as a recipient of the Partners In Craft Scholarship this year, thanks to our wonderfully generous donors. Seeing my name and picture in the NBSS Newsletter feels like I am living in a dream.  Ssshh…please don’t wake me up!


Secondly, I was kindly asked by our fabulous Director of Communications Nancy Jenner to be one of this year’s “Faces of NBSS” for NBSS’s Annual Report. If I hadn’t learned some degree of tact and professionalism in my former life, I would have replied back, “OMG, AYK…YES!”

As you can see from the previous couple of examples, I have been making a name for myself thus far; and this is totally not of my own doing. While these are both incredible examples, this is not what I was referring to when I titled this post, “MAKING A NAME FOR MYSELF AT THE BENNET.” The two examples I just shared can only be attributed to some type of blessing from beyond because I have not earned these awards through my craftsmanship or creativity YET.  So what, you may ask, did I mean by making a name for myself at the Bennet? I will give you a few brief examples of how  I make an immediate impression, when it is up to me.

  • We receive our discounted T passes twice per year. The first pass started October 2nd, on our first day of school, and expires December 31st. Who lost (or thought I lost) and had to order a replacement T pass on the second day of class? You guessed it.
  • Since I work after school each day, I am not able to stay late to work on projects. To compensate, I try to get to school at 6:30 so I have an extra hour to do work before class begins at 7:30. Even though I have been early every day since I started, a few times I have ended up in red pen as “LATE” on the daily attendance sheet at our front desk because I forgot to sign in. Fortunately Lillian is a doll (and is getting to know me), so she now signs me in when she knows I just forgot to sign in YET AGAIN!

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  • When learning how to sharpen tools, our teacher Steve gave very clear step by step instructions about the process. When demonstrating the grinding process, he showed us why it is important to pay attention to the temperature of the tool and showed us how not to “burn” the edge of our chisels and plane irons on the grinder. He assured us that “there would be someone who burns their tool.” Thanks Steve for the foreshadowing because it was me who caused the first burn.
  • Speaking of “firsts,” I definitely know I was the first to create an oil slick in my drawer. Unfortunately, the cap to my honing oil somehow loosened, and it saturated every other item that accompanied it in the drawer. Weeks later, I am still wiping oil off of tools, pencils, and other miscellaneous tools. Needless to say, my first finished drafting project of an oil stone box (pun not intended) is highlighted by symmetrical oil spots sprinkled around it.
  • Lastly (for now), I was the first student in class to break into the first aid kit after slicing the top of my knuckle with my freshly sharpened block plane iron. The truth is that my teacher had just warned me not to touch the blade because he knew I had just finished the last steps of my honing process to the point that the blade could shave my arm hair with ease (yes this is how we test it). I tried to steer clear of the blade while using a wire brush to clean a little gunk off the back side of the iron, which was my last step. When I did this, the blade slipped out of my hand. Instead of pulling my hand away, I instinctively reached my hand out to catch it. Truthfully, I was in fear that the hours of work I put into this blade would be erased in one fall to the ground. When I did that, the blade not only shaved my knuckle hairs, but it opened up my knuckle like a can of soda. SO I WON YET ANOTHER FIRST!185

By this point, you can see that I am going to make quite a name for myself at North Bennet Street School. Hopefully in the future, I get recognized for the quality of my work rather than than my absent mindedness :) Until then, I will keep showing up early, studying hard, listening intently, and smiling.


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