FOL Feature: A Learning Experience for Carrigan Students

In its mission to provide workforce-ready citizens for the community, Carrigan Career and Technical Center was an ideal place to turn for help with mechanical and physical aspects of the Fantasy of Lights displays.

The new Ferris wheel for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was built by students to look like the old one that was part of the original display. The Little Engine That Could was stripped down to its bare components, repaired and repainted, and will have a new car added this year. Carrigan technology instructor Scott Little said that students in collision repair, welding, and electrical technology all contributed to the work and learned about using tools, cutting, painting, and finishing projects. Little also gave credit to the Iowa Park Consolidated Independent School District's agriculture department for their help with cutting metal pieces. "We had quite a few kids involved," Little said.

With the Ferris wheel on track for another season and the train repaired, Little said that Carrigan's involvement would not end. "Our plan is to take responsibility in the future too," he said.

Using Carrigan was a good thing not only for the valuable hands-on experience for the students and for the Fantasy of Lights in that it saved labor costs, but also for something intangible that the students learned. Along with the everyday skills they'll need in the real world, they learned what it meant to be part of a community project. "They're learning about community spirit, volunteering, and teamwork," Little said.

Some students had heard of the Fantasy of Lights, but had not been out to see them. Now they know its place in the hearts of so many in the area and can feel the importance of keeping the holiday tradition in working order. "Along with teaching the basic skills, it's also important to cultivate in students a desire to keep traditions alive," Little said. "They're not only learning a skill to make a living, but they're learning to use their skills to help others."

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