PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Workshop School in West Philadelphia is unlike most high schools. When you walk through the door, the first thing you see is not a classroom, but a carpenter’s workshop.
The school, which is part of the Philadelphia School District, allows its ninth- through twelfth-graders to both take traditional academic courses while also going “hands-on” with real-life skills.
“The thing that makes the workshop school so different is we put kids in direct contact with the real world,” explained math and special education teacher and adviser Jared Lauterdach.
“So a lot of the projects are those that exist not just in school, but also outside of the real world,” Lauterdach continued. “In the morning, students spend time in different workshops. There is an auto-body shop, an auto-repair shop, a carpentry workshop and a special section of the school known as ‘Workshop Industries.’ They are the kind of the entrepreneurial-side to our school.”
During the holiday season, the students inside the Workshop Industries section are busy. They’ve created what they call a “Jawnament.” Basically, it’s a Christmas tree ornament of Philadelphia’s most popular word — Jawn — laser cut from special plywood.
“Our famous Jawnament was created by Michael Best. He’s also a senior here,” explained Workshop Industries member and senior Johnna Martin.
“It kind of was a little joke at first, and then it became popular and a lot of people started asking, ‘Hey, can I get one?'” she continued.
The students sell the Jawnaments for $4 each. They’ve also created Jawn earrings and even a Jawn menorah, or Jawnorah. Students sell the items on their website or at trade shows. The money made is divided between the school and the students themselves.
It’s the school’s fourth year of making the unique ornaments, and they’ve proven to be very popular.
“We’ll be at a craft fair, and people will walk by and say, ‘Hey, we have these at our home and tree,’ and that just brightens up our day,” said Martin.
If you’d like to order yours, check out school’s website HERE.