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Metals students share talent throughout region

From ornaments to pet signs, Reynolds metal students give back to community with projects

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Aidin Talic, a Reynolds sophomore, demonstrates welding in his metals class with Bernie Kleiman. He is one of 200 students who created ornaments for Troutdales tree lighting.

During the past five years, community service has become a cornerstone of Bernie Kleiman’s metals program at Reynolds High School.

This holiday season has been no different, with students decorating Troutdale’s Christmas tree in Mayors Square with hundreds of hand-painted metal ornaments for the Friday, Dec. 6, tree lighting.

“Students see a purpose that reaches beyond the classroom,” said Marcia Chiaudano, hospitality manager of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce who helped build the partnership with Reynolds. “To see their creativity is absolutely wonderful.”

The colorful snowmen, snowflakes, Santa Clauses, trees, candy canes and ornaments displayed in Mayors Square have become a Reynolds tradition. There’s even one big “RHS” ornament.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Students at the Friday, Dec. 6, tree lighting in Troutdale.

“It resonates with those who have gone to Reynolds,” Chiaudano said. “It’s something generations to come can enjoy, connecting the school district with Troutdale.”

Each year, the city collects the additional ornaments for the next year’s celebration, with some of them given to families who can’t afford holiday decorations.

Additionally, students and their families have sold ornaments at First Friday the past two years, this year adding lamps created by Caleb Nutting’s mother, Nina.

“It’s amazing how this program has brought him out of his shell and shown his artistic side,” Nutting said of her son. “Every time I walk in here, the students seem to walk on cloud nine. They feel good about themselves, and their selfless sides come out for these projects.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Chase Savage, sophomore, and Alex Derbyshire, junior, talk about an upcoming metals project. Savage said he enjoys the upbeat and fun ambiance of metals class.

Students learn welding, machining and foundry and forge techniques in their metals classes with Kleiman. They also have explored artistic projects such as horseshoe sculptures.

“It’s an upbeat class that’s more free and low-stress,” said sophomore Chase Savage.

Each year, Kleiman and his wife brainstorm ways the metals program can contribute to the community and plan various ways to help. “Community outreach is an important philosophy in this class,” Kleiman said.

Added junior Alex Derbyshire, “It’s nice to have some positive publicity.”

Along with the ornaments, students create veterans displays for Reynolds’ Living History Day. For Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, they create holiday signs for dog and cat cages at the Multnomah County Humane Society.

Students also create specialized metal clocks for children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University.

Kleiman teaches more than 200 students and exudes an upbeat philosophy. The entry sign to his classroom reads, “You guys rock.”

When students exit, they see the mantra from Kleiman’s wrestling years: “Inspiration, aspiration and perspiration.”

“There’s a lot of spirit in this class and an ambiance of love,” Kleiman said. “We have everyone from skaters to music kids to athletes. The diversity is amazing and an inspiration.”

To learn more about Reynolds’ metals program, call 503-667-3186, ext. 1100.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Students make a variety of projects, including ornaments, signs and night lights. Many benefit regional organizations and events.

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