AUSD staff make wood toys to donate for holidays


Woodworking Teacher John Mason’s wood shop at San Gabriel High School turned into Santa’s workshop for one night on November 29.  Over 460 wooden toys such as rolling ducks, locomotive engines, and thumb-wrestling games were hand made by over 60 volunteers for donation to non-profit organizations. Mason, a member of Epsilon Pi Tau, an International Honorary whose members are educators and industrial and technology educational professionals in the field of career technology education, hosted the Alpha Field Chapter of the organization for its annual project service night.


Several AUSD staff including Alhambra Principal Brad Walsh, Woodworking Teachers Mason, Carlos Sanchez (Alhambra HS), and Ademar Saccone (MKHS), Secretary Monica Ochoa (Century HS), and Computer Teacher Qui Nguy (SGHS) participated in the workshop, which started at  5:00 pm with a barbecue dinner and ended at 10:45 pm.  


To complete 460 pieces in one night, the toy parts were cut out by the hand before the night during several work parties.  “We call ourselves the three amigos, SGHS, AHS, MKHS wood shop teachers. The three of us and Brad Walsh worked until late after school on the project we donated.  We cut, sanded and made jigs for ease of multiple processes. Some of my students helped do some drilling and sanding of parts,” Mason said.


Other hand-made wood projects constructed were five piece puzzles, three car train sets, tool trays with toy tools, small vans, small cars, small open top ’32 Ford roadster, and an articulating turtle moving down a ramp.  The locomotive engines were made with many species of wood - mahogany, alder, poplar, oak, fir, pine and maple.


This year the toys will be donated to the following organizations in the greater Los Angeles area: A New Way of Life Re-entry Project, Asian Pacific Women Center, Southwest Supporting Toddlers Education Play and Services, United Coalition East Prevention Project, El Centro Pueblo, Center for the Pacific Asian Family, and LAPD Foothill Division Community Relation Unit- Christmas Basket program


Anderson International Trading in Anaheim, CA, Bohnhoff Lumber Company in Los Angeles and Ventsam Sash and Door in Sun Valley, California donated the wood and plywood used for this year’s projects.  Franklin International donated Titebond glue for the assembly of projects. 


“Because our chapter fully believes in the development of young minds for the future, members have been meeting together every year, for the past 45 years, to manufacture toys to donate to children during the holiday season,” said Gene Lew, Project Service Coordinator for Epsilon Pi Tau-Alpha Field Chapter.


PHOTO CAPTION TOP:  Wooden toys made included rolling ducks, small cars, locomotive engines, thumb-wrestling games, and puzzles.  


PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right: Mark Keppel Drafting/Woodworking Teacher Ademar Saccone, San Gabriel Woodworking Teacher John Mason, and Alhambra Principal Brad Walsh, members of Epsilon Pi Tau-Alpha Field Chapter, work together to hand make toys for charity.  Mr. Mason hosted a project service night in his San Gabriel wood shop to construct over 460 wooden toys.


Photos courtesy of James Ng



Posted on 1/21/13