Russell was surprising me with his understanding of structural mechanics. He understood that the windy conditions that are often times felt in the desert meant that much needed bracing and properly designed supports had to be incorporated into the original plans. The reflective mirrors had to have a very specific angle of 60 degrees off of the horizontal surface of the window glass opening, if they were going to work properly and to increase the overall efficiency of the oven. How to mount the supports and to brace them had to be skillfully planned before continuing with the project. Using SolidWorks, a 3D world class modeling software, was instrumental in seeing the engineered design changes before implementing them. Slowly things were taking shape and it was starting to look very futuristic and even exciting to the both of us. I could see it in his face that he was enjoying this project very much. Russell now knows the need for good reading and math skills. It was decided upon, that we would build it to one forth of the full scale model. A strong relationship was building between us. I enjoyed teaching proper and safe tool usage because Russell learned very quickly. He wasn’t the only one learning things. I was getting a free insight into a young man’s mind and how eleven year olds think. That knowledge I could apply to my other students when I teach them different things. The reward that I am getting for helping a young man like Russell is beyond any kind of value that I have ever known before. I remember this quote and I do not know the author of it but it does seem appropriate for the message that I am trying to convey. “We never stand so tall then when we stoop to help a youngster.” Helping one youngster at a time is a meaningful endeavor and if we all did that we would have a much better world. There is a world full of youngsters that could use an adult friend and counselor. I do not make demands upon him but I do discuss the ramifications of the actions that he takes. Someday Russell will be teaching me, but in the meantime I will be ready to teach, counsel and be a friend to him while he is maturing nicely. Here are some more pictures of the Awards Night and Russell’s creation. I am so proud of this young man.
By Richard Williams