Gaston High recipient of 3D printer donation
A local tech company, TTM Technologies, donated a 3D printer to Gaston High School on Tuesday, June 5, introducing students to more high-tech equipment early on.
Several representatives from TTM came to the high school last Tuesday to present the 3D printer to the students, which will be used in the school's recently-constructed Career Technical and Education building.
"(I'm) super excited," said Wade Sims, who teaches woodstry, manufacturing and engineering, among other classes at the high school. "I'm a kid at heart too, so I love this stuff and it's another cool toy that the kids will get to use and experience. ... It will allow for more creativity I think."
TTM, which specializes in the manufacturing of circuit boards and custom assemblies for aerospace and defense industries, holds an annual contest in which employees are challenged to come up with the best invention using the company's 3D printer, said TTM engineering manager Scott Danko. The winning branch receives a 3D printer to donate to a local school.
Last year, the Forest Grove branch won the contest, donating to Forest Grove High School. This year, they took home gold again and chose Gaston High School, Danko said.
"Our hopes, and my challenge to my engineering team, is we've got to win one more because we really want to give one to Banks High School," Danko said. "So that's what we are hoping to do down the road is to win another one, and then we'll kind of complete the trifecta."
Danko said the regional competition began as an effort to connect more with the local community — a connection TTM as a company seemed to have lost through several changes of name and ownership, he said.
"In 2015, we kind of lost our identity in the community. So, when we became TTM (in 2015), we thought, 'How can we do it?' So we created an appeals committee," Danko said. "We adopted a road on Fern Hill Road. ... The 3D printer contest, we are going to have a booth at the 'Love Rocks Run' that's coming up and we actually are going to be a contributor into what's going on at Rogers Park," he added, referring to a Forest Grove park improvement project slated for this summer.
"We are working really hard to get the people in the community to know the TTM name and know what we do," Danko concluded.
Gaston teacher Wade Sims said getting the donation came "out of the blue" and is one that will really benefit the students.
"Our goal, ultimately, is to always lead them towards high-wage jobs," Sims said. "So when they learn how to 3D-print and they learn how to run a laser engraver or cutting CNC vinyl or CNC router, those are all manufacturing jobs that pay well, and they can take that straight from high school right into a job, or they can go straight from high school and go get into some kind of training apprentice program. ... Anything they want to do is in high demand with those things."
Sims, who has worked at the high school for 19 years, said the donation is a good reminder of the hard work being done at the school.
"It's humbling when we get donations like this, because it sort of validates that all the hard work you put in through a year is being recognized, and to be recognized by an industry I think is super-cool," he said. "It says a lot about the kids and what they're up to, because they're showing it off outside (of school), which is good."
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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