Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

Senior projects displayed for public, students to see

By Shirley Shuman

Monday, April 22, Braxton County High 64 seniors from Lisa Vaughan’s classes displayed their senior projects in the high school commons area and the gym. Projects ranged from a tasty salsa and pork sauce to stained glass to a cross for a church and more, even a working steam engine.

An avid fan of the engines,  Lane Friend won Best of Show with the one he built. He became fascinated with trains and steam engines when he visited Cass for the first time when he was six. “After that visit, I set out to learn all I could about trains. I read everything I could find about them,”  he said

Friend built his steam engine with various parts he obtained from different sources—at a total cost of approximately $2,000 and “about a year”  to collect. For example, he used a water stove that he got from a neighbor “to get a firebox out of.”   His actual work began last October in the tractor repair shop of his mentor and neighbor, Johnny Young. He noted that he “worked every day after school and on weekends” to complete his project.   The engine weighs 4,500 pounds  and measures 5’wide, 7’ high, and 16’ long.

Asked how he feels about what he did, he responded, “I feel pretty accomplished. It’s been a long time coming.”  He noted that he “might run it in a parade so a lot of people can see it.”  While Friend has no definite plan for his steam engine, he does have a plan for his job after high school. He will be working  as a mechanic at Cass Railroad, and, yes, he will work on trains with steam engines.

Friend’s steam engine, outstanding as it was, was only one of the senior projects. Others also proved interesting. For example, Lacie Wright spent 25-30 hours with her mentor building a coffee bar for her mother. What Wright and her grandfather and mentor Dennis Shaver  built is a 6’4″ tall, 3 ½ ‘ wide structure with two cabinets on the bottom and a framed open area on the top.

The coffee pot sits on one small shelf with room for cups underneath. Wright painted her structure teal. It sits in the family’s dining area for her mother to use as soon as she arises in morning. Wright said that she and her grandfather “built it from the ground up,” and she is very proud of it. “We worked evenings and weekends to finish it. I love it, and my mom loves it,” she declared.

Another interesting senior project showed Karl Boyce’s cooking skills. Boyce made salsa and hot sauce under the supervision of his uncle, Clarence Ramsey. He chose his uncle as his mentor, he explained, “because he likes to can food.”  He added, “I thought if I planned to make salsa and hot sauce, who’s better than my uncle to help me.” 

The two began by choosing different flavors, and Boyce made five pints of salsa and four pints of the hot sauce.  During the senior project display, he gave samples to the judges and to teachers he knew. “They all loved it,” he declared.  He actually sold four pins of salsa during the display, and people asked him to make more.  Regarding his satisfaction with his senior project, Boyce said, “I’m more than happy. I’d love to make more.”

Many other seniors had interesting projects. Among those were Braydon Helmick’s wooden flag and Risten Rutherford’s European skull mount. Adrian Lunceford learned how to can and preserve for her senior project, and Madison Rhodes made a cross for her church. These are only a small part of the whole display.