This year's AWFS Fresh Wood student design competition, held as part of the AWFS Vegas fair, attracted 165 entries from 49 different schools in the United States and Canada. Twenty-seven college and high school students went home with new tools and cash prizes for their entries.
Angelo Gangone, executive vice president of the AWFS, says the competition allows the association to market the woodworking industry as a viable option for someone's future, whether they're a high school student or an emerging artist exploring new career options.
"These students love this competition. They look forward to it all year and, for them, this is a big highlight of some beautiful and unique work that they put so much time and effort into. This is a way of recognizing not only these future leaders, but also the teachers that teach them and their dedication to teaching the craft."
Finalists' pieces were prominently displayed between the two main exhibitor halls of the convention center in Las Vegas. Show attendee Robert Cranley of Las Vegas, a retired physician and avid hobbyist woodworker, looked over the student design entries with awe, as did other spectators.
"These students, at early stages in their career, have managed to produce some really outstanding and creative pieces of furniture. They have obviously used a wide variety of techniques along with their imagination and technical execution," says Cranely.
That was evident in Tim Keating's marquetry table, "Wandering Roses," which won the People's Choice award. Keating is a senior at Cedar Ridge High School in Chapel Hill, N.C.
"I knew I wanted something spectacular for my last piece, so I didn't hold back," says Keating, who wants to be a physician.
Tyler Duperron, from Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario, won the Best of Show award for a table, "An Apple a Day." His prize was $1,000, a Rikon mini lathe and a wood sculpture designed by the late Sam Maloof.
This is the first time two high school students have been awarded the Best of Show and People's Choice awards.
Other first-place winners were:
- Casegoods: Blake Fullenwider (Dale Jackson Career Center, Lewisville, Texas).
- Production/contract work: Brady Reed (Quinter High School, Quinter, Kan.)
- Tables: Andrew Prioli (Cedar Ridge High School, Chapel Hill, N.C.)
- Class project: John Barry and McKenzie Stevens (Halifax County High School, South Boston, Va.)
- Open: Tyler Dupperon (Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School, Brampton, Ontario)
- Case Goods: Andrew Wallace (College of the Redwoods in California)
- Chairs: Allen Mahic (University of Idaho)
- Production/Contract Work: Rebekah Schaberg (University of Kentucky)
- Reproduction: Jason Davis (University of Rio Grande in Ohio)
- Tables: Christopher Atwood (Center for Furniture Craftsmanship)
- Open: Leah Kenttamaa-Squires (Purdue University)
For a complete list of winners and photographs of their work, visit www.awfs.org.
This article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue.