Franklin County Technical School   82 Industrial Blvd.   Turners Falls, MA 413 . 863 . 9561

3D Printer Demonstration Amazes, Educates FCTS Students

As students crowded around him in the Franklin County Technical School assembly hall, Steven Longpre held up an intricately built birdhouse created using a 3D printer.

“3D printing is a new technology that gives us the ability to change the way we build things,” Longpre said. “This is a new tool that has become available in the last few years. It’s going to change a lot.’

Longpre, CEO of BarnStorm Studio, LLC in South Hadley, was at FCTS recently to demonstrate and talk about 3D printing. He brought three 3D printers to the school, along with objects including the birdhouse he was holding, a Star Wars-like toy light saber, cell phone case, prosthetic hand and various other items.

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes in which an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

Most 3D printers create objects in plastic, while some use ceramic, metal or other materials.

3D printers, Longpre explained, are used in everything from making parts for the aerospace industry to building houses. He said they are as small and affordable as the ones he had on display or as big as the assembly hall they were standing in and worth millions of dollars.

D Printer Demonstration Amazes, Educates FCTS Students

“They are all going to come down in price in the next few decades,” Longpre said.

Most importantly, 3D printers are going to change the face of manufacturing, something relevant to the FCTS students.

“I was trying to convey that the students need to study this technology,” Longpre said following the demonstration. “A lot of people will lose their jobs because of this technology. We want to make sure the kids learn to adopt and adapt to it.”

Longpre came to FCTS at the behest of Programming and Web instructor Marcus McLaurin, whose shop recently bought a 3D printer. He met Longpre through artist and designer Lisa Hoag, who saw one of his 3D demonstrations. Hoag and McLaurin have also collaborated on projects for the school’s art club.

“This demonstration is an introduction to the importance of 3D printing to our future,” McLaurin said. “It will affect a lot of different industries and people don’t realize it.”

The school’s 3D printer is a Dremel Dream Builder. McLaurin said his shop will make objects like 3D game figures or characters designed by students.

“I’m looking forward to implementing our new 3D curricula,” he said. “There are so many Imagineering possibilities.”

The school was recently awarded a grant, in which approximately half of the money will be used to purchase another 3D printer.

Sam Scopa, a junior from Greenfield, said the 3D printer is “phenomenal and useful.” Lexi Bogusz, a freshman from Turners Falls, said the possibilities of what a 3D printer can create are “mind blowing.”

“I’d like to learn more about it, and the blueprints and data you can put into it,” she said. “You put data into it and it comes out with your design. It’s cool.”

SkillsUSA Students Win Awards, Medals and Pins at Fall Conference

Eleven SkillsUSA students from Franklin County Technical School recently participated in the Fall State Leadership Conference at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center in Marlborough, MA.

All 11 of the FCTS SkillsUSA members earned their leadership pins along with a great showing of a variety of medals and awards. This year’s Fall State Leadership Conference was the largest ever, with over 1,500 competitors from schools throughout Massachusetts.

Students competed in a variety of team events, assisted in a service learning project for the Hopkinton YMCA, and worked tirelessly at earning leadership pins, signifying their mastery in SkillsUSA knowledge and leadership qualities.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of educators, students, and industry working together to ensure a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA Massachusetts has grown to over 33,000 members.

The FCTS SkillsUSA students are:

SkillsUSA Students Win Awards, Medals and Pins at Fall Conference
  • Adam Brennan - Junior - Machine Technology - Northfield, MA - Safety Award for safe work on the community service project and 5th place ribbon in Team Quality
  • Colton Tarbox – Junior - Programming and Web - Wendell, MA - 1st place ribbon in Team Quality
  • Samantha Watson - Junior - Carpentry - Orange, MA -7th Place ribbon in Team Quality
  • Hunter Sessions - Freshman- Buckland, MA - 3rd Place ribbon Team Quality
  • Kaitlin Churchill – Junior - Health Technology- Shelburne, MA- 3rd Place ribbon Team Quality and Silver Medal Place Team Profile
  • Karaghen McBurnie - Freshman - Orange, MA - 4th Place Team Quality
  • Lindsey Mailloux – Junior – Cosmetology - Erving, MA - 1st place ribbon Team Quality
  • Tim Momaney – Junior - Machine Technology - Montague, MA - 2nd Place ribbon Team Quality and Bronze medal in Community Construction
  • Mallory Willis - Junior - Health Technology - Charlemont, MA - 2nd Place ribbon Team Quality Silver Medal in Membership Promotion
  • Jaxon Rollins - Freshman - Erving, MA- 6th Place ribbon Team Quality
  • Gabe Vorce – Junior - Electrical- Orange, MA - 4th Place ribbon Team Quality
Herren’s Talk on Substance Abuse Emotional for FCTS Students

Brittany Andrews, a Franklin County Technical School junior from New Salem, called a talk about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse given at the school recently by former basketball star Chris Herren, “painful, moving and inspiring.”

In a FCTS gymnasium full of students, faculty, administrators and staff, Herren said not enough attention is paid to “the first day,” the times when teens drink their first beer and begin to smoke marijuana. It’s when teenagers first drink alcohol or use drugs that sometimes sets them on the road to addiction.

In“There are kids in this gymnasium that are struggling,” Herren said. “There are kids here who have opened doors that will be tough to close.”

Herren was a basketball star at Durfee High School in Fall River in the early 1990’s, and attended Boston College on a basketball scholarship. He first tried cocaine at Boston College and was eventually kicked out of the school after flunking a number of drug tests. He went onto star at Fresno State before being drafted into the NBA, where he played for the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, all the while needing to fuel a ravaging drug addiction.

Herren’s drug addiction, particularly to heroin and OxyContin, escalated to the point where he lost basketball career, and almost his family and his life. He’s been drug- and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008. Founder in 2011 of The Herren Project, he has dedicated his life to increasing education and awareness about the dangers of substance abuse.

As was the case the last time Herren spoke at the school, the audience hung on every word; a number of students cried, others comforted their friends, and some were so upset they had to leave the gymnasium.

Herren last spoke at FCTS two years ago, and his talk centered around his life in basketball, his addiction to drugs and his recovery. This time he showed the ESPN, Emmy-nominated movie “Unguarded” about his basketball career and struggles with drugs before he spoke. This allowed Herren to concentrate on addressing why teenagers turn to drugs and alcohol, as well as tell the stories of students in crisis he has met along the way.

Herren’s Talk on Substance Abuse Emotional for FCTS Students

“I think it’s so sad that we’ve allowed you kids to self-medicate,” he said. “You don’t think it’s sad that you need drugs to have fun? There’s nothing fun in that. When kids tell me they need drugs to have fun, it breaks my heart.”

Herren said that teenagers who drink alcohol and do drugs are fueling a need to change who they are for any number of reasons. They may have a parent who is an alcoholic, or they may not like the way they look, or feel socially awkward.

“The kids who go out on weekends and never have to change themselves are as cool as you can get,” Herren said. “There’s nothing soft about kids who don’t get high.”

At times Herren even chastised students who were laughing, saying “there’s nothing funny about a 14-year-old’s funeral. There’s nothing funny about an 8th grader going to a friend’s funeral.”

Herren wrapped up by saying that teenagers who are using drugs and alcohol have a chance to come away from his talk and change their lives. He urged students to support their friends and family members as they battle through substance abuse and other issues.

“This is a tight knit community,” Herren said. “Keep it that way. Look out for each other and protect each other the right way.”

Chris Herren

Chris Herren, former Durfee (Fall River) High School star, who once played for the Boston Celtics, will speak to Franklin County Technical School students and staff about his harrowing journey from basketball legend, to addict, to redemption.

Herren will speak in the FCTS gymnasium on Friday, December 5, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

After losing a promising basketball career, and almost his life to alcohol and drugs, Herren now talks to groups about his career on the court, his addiction, and recovery. He founded The Herren Project in 2011 to increase education and public awareness about the dangers of substance abuse.

A standout at Durfee High School, Herren became one of the top Division 1 prospects in the country. Herren attended Boston College on a basketball scholarship his freshman year, and first tried cocaine after his season ended due to injury. He was eventually kicked out of the college after flunking a number of drug tests.

Herren transferred to Fresno State University to play for legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian. At Fresno State he was named to the All-WAC first team in 1996 and 1997 and held school records in both assists and steals. But, Herren also failed a drug test and was sent to rehabilitation before rejoining the team.

Chris Herren

Following his college career, Herren was drafted in the second round, 33rd overall by the Denver Nuggets. He played 45 games for the Nuggets, and was later traded to the Boston Celtics, where he suffered a season-ending injury. Herren later played basketball overseas, but his drug and alcohol use escalated, and by 2003 his career was over.

After undergoing extensive rehabilitation, Herren has been drug- and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008. His story is chronicled in his memoir “Basketball Junkie,” written along with Bill Reynolds, and in ESPN’s Emmy-nominated documentary “Unguarded.”

In 2009, Herren founded Hoop Dreams a basketball skills development program.

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