Cookeville – Carpentry students at Cookeville High School are using their skills to craft cutting boards that will be auctioned on November 12 at a benefit to support Jamie Phillips, who has been diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer, and his family.

This project began when Randall Mansell, CHS carpentry instructor, was contacted by a community member who had seen handmade cutting boards from his class at a past auction. Baltazar Francisco, CHS junior; Trent Alley, CHS sophomore; and Ethan Poston, CHS sophomore, were asked to take on a project of building cutting boards for the benefit, and they gladly accepted.

“Hannah Redmond (an organizer of the benefit) called me saying she had seen our work at another benefit. I then asked the boys to make boards, and they agreed,” said Mansell. “They needed little instruction from me. They would come into the shop and go to work. I am proud of them.”

The process of creating a board takes a little over 24 hours.

“We split each board, glue all the boards together, cut ends off, and there is a lot of sanding to take place before we oil it,” said sophomore Trent Alley. “We can definitely make a couple in a week.”

Showing the work – picture from l. to r,: Baltazar Francisco, CHS junior; Trent Alley, CHS sophomore; Ethan Poston, CHS sophomore, show their finished cutting boards to PCSS CTE Supervisor Dr. Leslie Eldridge, Principal Max Petett, and their Carpentry Instructor Randy Mansell.

Each of the boys had practiced these skills before making gifts for their family members.

However, this time it meant a little more because their work goes on to benefit someone who needs support from his community. 

“We were excited to get this assignment because it is going to a good cause,” said Alley.

The cutting boards will be for auction on Saturday, Nov. 12, at First Baptist Church Family Life Center in Monterey at a chili dinner that will include live music to benefit the Phillips family.

Jamie and Tammy Phillips

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