Recollections of a past Bay High School tech-ed student

Perusing a recent online story regarding the Bay Village School District’s three-week STEM-Enriched Summer Study camp both interested me and launched yet another nostalgia trip.

Bay’s STEM-Enriched Summer Study appears to be a terrific opportunity for the district's students to gain valuable insight into potential careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related fields. Owing to the camp’s technology component, the story almost instantly caused me to reflect back on two school years in which I attended both metal shop and technical drawing classes at Bay High School back in the '70s.

Metal shop teacher, George Meyers, had first-year Metals 1 students fabricate small parallel-bar clamps using only pieces of steel stock and hand tools as their primary project. A great deal of challenge was added to this project by requiring key surfaces of the parallel bars be perfectly square to their adjacent sides, or in the case of one end surface, perfectly round in profile. This was to be achieved by carefully hand-filing said surfaces.

Looking back, the real point of the exercise was not to produce little metal parallel-bar clamps with unnecessarily perfect surfaces, but to ingrain in students an ability to use metalworking tools correctly and accurately. To this day I appreciate the respect for proper and precise tool use Mr. Meyers instilled in his students through this activity.

In contrast to their introductory year, Metals 2 students engaged in a mass production-type project, where parts fabrication and assembly were as similar as possible to an actual factory setting. Mr. Meyers ingeniously created production-type tooling that allowed students to efficiently fabricate extended runs of individual parts, then after all the various parts were produced, assemble them into finished products.

This not only provided some nice items for all of the class members to take home but also gave them an applied knowledge of the design, manufacture and assembly tasks common in industry at the time. Second-year metals students also had numerous opportunities to learn of and operate the shop’s machine tools.

In addition to two years of metal shop, I completed two years of technical drawing with teacher Cyril Lipaj. Year one consisted of what was commonly known as mechanical drawing, learning how to use various forms of drafting devices to produce increasingly complicated and detailed paper and pencil technical drawings. Mr. Lipaj taught the techniques and accepted conventions required to produce recognizable and acceptable technical drawings.

Year two, Architectural Drawing, found Mr. Lipaj providing instruction in how to prepare drawings and plans describing home construction processes. In addition to teaching how to produce detailed architectural drawings and floor plans, Mr. Lipaj provided valuable insight into a variety of construction techniques. All drawings were generated by hand. Back then, we had no access to computers with Computer Aided Drafting programs.

While technology education now appears to be much more advanced, my experiences in Mr. Meyers’ and Mr. Lipaj’s classes have proven to be very useful throughout my life.

Dan Hirschfeld

I'm a longtime resident of the Bay Village and Westlake area (Bay 1965 to 1977, then Westlake since) who has always enjoyed living here while seeing lots of change over the years.

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Volume 9, Issue 13, Posted 9:30 AM, 07.05.2017