Local high school students participate in 'Fab Lab'

FLORENCE, Wisc. — High demand for technical education has led many high schools to expand their career–oriented offerings. One Northern Wisconsin school is giving students a unique opportunity to get hands–on with manufacturing.

This year, a small group of students at Florence High School had the opportunity to be the first to participate in the Fab Lab.
The course allows students to take part in the engineering process from concept to completion, teaching them critical skills along the way.

“All of those 21st century skills — problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, communication — play a part when you complete a project,” said Business Teacher Kay McLain.

“It’s just fun to make your own stuff and be able to say, ‘I made that. I can use that, I can wear that and show it off,'” Gina Gehlhoff, a senior, added.

“The main thing to learn is that you have to work as a team, and you have to use each other,” junior Dylan McLain said.

“I think they’re really starting to see the application of how all the different components come together for preparing them for their future,” said Ben Niehaus, Superintendent of the School District of Florence County.

The Fab Lab includes 3D printers, a laser engraver, and more. It was built using a mix of public and private grants, donations, and school funds.

Nine students in total participated in the program this year, and the school is looking at adding another section next year.
In addition to design, educators at Florence High School have been working to incorporate art into the creations of Fab Lab students.