FCTS Students Create Huge New Chair for Kringle Candle


TURNERS FALLS, MA – In what will surely become an iconic symbol of Kringle Candle, a giant Adirondack chair built by Franklin County Technical School students was recently installed outside of the Bernardston-based candle maker.

Kringle Candle contacted FCTS several months ago to have the chair built, but the Carpentry program was unable to accept the project since they were in the midst of a house building project. Nathan May, director of pupil personnel services and special education, thought the Pre-Employment Program (PEP) would be perfect for the job.

“PEP jumped at the opportunity to build this chair,” May said. “They used the skills they had been learning in painting, sanding, wood preparation, and blueprint reading for constructing the chair, with support from their instructors. They were excited to be involved with this project.”

Pep Program Kringle Chair

PEP Program

Program Kringle ChairThe Pre-Employment Program teaches students with physical and/or cognitive challenges academics, employment skills, and independent living skills. Students in the program also learn essential values of developing a strong work ethic and engaging in community service.

May pointed out that PEP has a strong connection to community-based projects, another reason the students were eager to take on the project.

“The students have an interest and willingness to engage in projects like this one,” he said.

Pre-Employment Program instructor Philip Foisy said he was intrigued by the idea of his students building the chair and believed it was a project the students could handle.

“The project would get the school and PEP a lot of exposure in the community,” Foisy said.

Foisy and CAD/CAM instructor Michael Therrien helped the students with designing and building the chair. The students cut the straight boards to length, routered the edges, did sanding, filling, and painting. Therrien designed the chair based on a photo Kringle Candle found online, and cut curved pieces on a CNC machine.

“We used wood furring strips, crates and cardboard to make a mock-up chair to make sure that it looked proportionally correct and the dimensions were right,” Foisy said. “School administrators were impressed that we were taking these steps to make sure it was proportionally correct and it would look majestic.”

Therrien, carpentry and PEP students and school maintenance personnel recently transported and assembled the chair, which measures 12 feet high, eight feet wide and 9.5 feet at the base, onsite at Kringle Candle.

“We transported the chair in two pieces,” Foisy said. “We put up the back and held it while Mike Therrien ran the screws in through pre-drilled holes. He did a fantastic job of designing the chair for easy assembly.”

Foisy and Therrien attached a plaque to the chair that reads, “Designed and built with pride by students of the Pre-Employment and CAD/CAM programs at Franklin County Technical School.”

Kringle Candle paid for the cost of materials and about 15-20 students and teachers altogether worked on the project over several weeks.

Foisy credits the hard work, creativity and determination of the PEP students for the high quality and attractiveness of the finished product.

“These kids are very capable,” he said. “This was a great opportunity for PEP to show their stuff by taking on a project of this size, help built it, and produce a product that’s on a professional looking scale. I’m very proud of the project and the way the kids performed.”

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