Sarah Krieg (left), sands a cut of wood that was harvested from an old walnut tree that had been recently removed on the Snohomish High School campus. Krieg and other students at the school are working to create a sofa and table from the salvaged lumber. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Sarah Krieg (left), sands a cut of wood that was harvested from an old walnut tree that had been recently removed on the Snohomish High School campus. Krieg and other students at the school are working to create a sofa and table from the salvaged lumber. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

New life for old Snohomish High walnut tree

Students crafted furniture, to be sold at fundraiser Saturday, from a former fixture on the campus.

SNOHOMISH — An old walnut tree watched over Snohomish High School’s campus for more than 70 years.

It likely was there during World War II when bus routes and field trips were cut due to gas rationing. Teachers instructed classes in aircraft construction and sheet metal work to meet needs during the war.

The tree was around in the 1960s when the school launched an education program designed to help students with special needs.

In 2002, it stood at the entrance of an empty campus waiting to welcome students. A teachers’ strike had delayed the start of classes for several weeks.

The tree eventually grew sick and was chopped down in August. Students can imagine it will be around for another 70 years, although in a different form. They have handpicked and hauled sections of the tree into the wood shop. There, they are turning walnut into furniture that will be sold. The money raised could help other students.

About a half-dozen young women donned plastic safety goggles, white masks and gloves. They’re building two tables from the salvaged wood.

The furniture is slated to be auctioned off Saturday at the Snohomish Education Foundation’s annual fundraiser. Proceeds are earmarked for higher education and career-building scholarships, as well as classroom and district-wide grants. Last year, the foundation raised $204,000.

“We weren’t quite sure what would come of it,” said Matt Johnson, the teacher leading the project.

He hadn’t worked with wood much before. His specialty is in aerospace machining.

However, the teacher saw a learning opportunity for both himself and his students.

Adrianna Wheeler, 17, hopes to be an underwater welder one day.

She enrolled in Johnson’s manufacturing class where she’s learning the basics. Their next project entails shaping roses out of steel. They use flame to color the petals a dark blue. One of Wheeler’s classmates plans to ask a special someone to a school dance with a dozen steel roses.

Despite Natalie Ream’s busy senior-year schedule, she meets the rest of the girls after school to work on the tables. She liked the idea of making something that would benefit fellow students.

In the past, the fundraiser helped teachers purchase classroom computers and supplies to build outdoor gardens. Glacier Peak High School now has a 3D printer.

Ream, who hopes to study renewable energy in college, found the project practical.

“A tree that has to come down, use it for something good,” Ream said. “If you can get everything out of it that you can, why not?”

She has been taking shop classes since her freshman year. It is not uncommon for her to be one of the only, if not the only, girl in the classroom.

That isn’t the case with Johnson’s project.

“This is not just a guy thing,” Ream said.

One afternoon the young women huddled around a long slab of dark wood with light-colored, uneven edges. They filled cracks in the grain with a gluey mixture and sanded the surface until it was smooth. They didn’t mind the sawdust on their jeans.

“When we have a group of hard-working girls, it all turns out well,” Wheeler said.

Sophia Walker, 17, looked at the wood that now has a shiny finish. She was surprised by how much work they completed in a short time. It usually takes longer to get through projects in class, she said.

“I blame it on the boys,” Wheeler joked.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Providence nurse’s tearful plea shines light on short-staffed ER

The nurse described an overwhelmed emergency department, as staff have pleaded with the Everett City Council for hazard pay.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Snohomish Health District hiring full-time monkeypox task force

The county is gearing up for more cases. The outbreak will be evaluated weekly to decide if a four-person team is merited.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Food forum
Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Everett
Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Most Read