Holiday Project Shows the Ultimate Teamwork

Photo by Vanessa Aziere/Tulsa Tech
PARADE FLOAT: Carpentry instructor Casey Chesser works with carpentry student Mandy Miller and production printing student Jeff Petersen to decorate a float featuring a gingerbread house for the Sand Springs Festival of Lights Christmas Parade.

Teamwork is defined as “the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.” One example of the teamwork Tulsa Tech teaches our students is the holiday float project at the Sand Springs campus.
Each year programs on the campus come together to create a float for the Sand Springs Festival of Lights Christmas Parade. The annual event gives students and instructors a chance to have fun and utilize their creativity, all while teaching students the skills they need in the workforce.
“Mr. (Casey) Chesser teaches us that we have to measure twice and cut once,” Mandy Miller, an adult Carpentry student said. “Doing that means we don’t mess up on the cut because it has to be exact.”
The attention to detail is critical on the project. With more than one program taking part, any slight measurements or cuts being off can impact the work that other students are putting into the project.
“We had to make sure all of the measurements were right because Production Printing is going to be wrapping the house. So our measurements have to match up,” Miller said.
“We all work together as a team, just like working on a job site,” Brayden Cummings, a high school carpentry student, added. “You don’t want to put your partner behind on their job so we all work together.”
Looking at the gingerbread house float you can see the tremendous effort put forth by our students; the walls squared off, the roof at the correct pitch and each wall true. The skills needed for this project transfer straight from the classroom to the growing carpentry profession. Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows carpentry is growing at about eight percent, which is double the average rate. On average, a carpenter in the Tulsa area earns about $45,000 a year.
But carpentry is only half of this job, students in the Production Printing program will cover the plywood to make it look like a gingerbread house, and how fast it comes together even surprises some of the students.
“I just can’t believe what we are able to accomplish (pointing to the house) in such a short amount of time,” Jeff Petersen, an adult student in the Production Printing program said with a smile. “Our program started on this at 8:30 yesterday morning and we have printed over 100 feet of material.”
It is quite an accomplishment to create all of the visuals for the gingerbread house. But while it was a challenge, students were exposed to important topics including time management, meeting deadlines and overcoming fear.
“To be able to do this, be under a time crunch and conquer some of my personal fears is a huge deal for me,” Petersen said.
The float is also a point of pride for each person involved in the project. When it travelled down the streets of Sand Springs last month, students were able to say with pride that they helped build it. For those involved, it was not just the pride of taking part, but the teamwork it took to build.
“This is Tulsa Tech coming together as one team,” Miller said. “We built this float together so it can bring joy to everybody watching the parade.”
“Everybody is like family, from the day I walked into Tulsa Tech, I knew this was where I was going to come,” Petersen added with a smile.
More than just the smiles, the float is a physical reminder of the skills Tulsa Tech is teaching each and every student, allowing them to Make Their Own Path toward their career.
If you are currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality corporate training, or a challenging new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, call 918-828-5000 or visit