Ocracoke School students Jeyson Resendiz, left, and Christian Trejo construct a ‘tiny library’ in an industrial arts contest in March in Rowan County. Photo by Gary Mitchell

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By Connie Leinbach

Two Ocracoke students added to the island’s renown when they captured first place earlier this year in an industrial arts competition.

Jeyson Resendiz, 11th grade, and Christian Trejo, ninth grade, won $1,000 for their excellent construction of a “tiny library” during an industrial arts contest March 16 at Rowan County Schools, Salisbury, Rowan County.

Tiny libraries are miniature houses that can be seen along the roads where people place books in a free exchange.

Resendiz and Trejo shared the cash prize and were among seven teams that had three hours to build the house, said Gary Mitchell, Ocracoke School’s industrial arts teacher.  The contest supplied the materials for all the contestants to create the houses in three hours inside a huge warehouse.

“They got more done than everybody else,” Mitchell said about his students. “Theirs was the most complete. The judges were very

Gary Mitchell, Ocracoke School’s industrial arts teacher, points out different woods in a student project. Photo: C. Leinbach


Mitchell said the pair built a practice house and drew up construction plans before they left. Their measurements had to be precise, a key judging point.

Busy constructing a small chest during a recent interview, Resendiz, who is in the level two class, said he just loves doing woodwork.

“I’ve pretty much furnished my entire room with stuff I’ve built,” he said.

Trejo is in the level one class.

“He’s got a lot of experience since he’s worked with his dad, Juan, who’s a carpenter,” Mitchell said.

The industrial arts class, inside the former Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Company on Back Road, has a variety of wood working machines, including a 3-D printer, but the class lacks in some materials.

“We’re pretty well equipped, but materials can be a challenge,” Mitchell said.

They use a lot of pine, but hardwoods—mahogany, oak, walnut–are more expensive.

Mitchell recently purchased one 16-foot by one-foot board of high quality stair-tread pine.

“You can go through a board like this pretty quickly,” he said.

Mitchell said the class welcomes donations of wood, whether new or leftover, the latter of which he prefers to view first before accepting.

“We make a lot of outdoor furniture with leftover lumber,” he said.

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