Butcher, baker, candlestick maker

Candlemaking project teaches students business and more

Nick Blank
Posted 1/18/17

LAKE ASBURY – Laurie Corcoran’s classroom at Lake Asbury Elementary resembles a bustling workshop.

Some students are painting glasses, some are pouring hot wax into containers, some are …

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Butcher, baker, candlestick maker

Candlemaking project teaches students business and more

Posted

LAKE ASBURY – Laurie Corcoran’s classroom at Lake Asbury Elementary resembles a bustling workshop.

Some students are painting glasses, some are pouring hot wax into containers, some are hammering crimps out of old candles, some are making wicks, others practice selling. Everyone has something to do.

In a roomy mobile unit, Corcoran oversees students making candles from donated glass and old candles. The class consists of 17 elementary students from three different classes, two students from Lake Asbury Jr. High, and two from Ridgeview High. They use the money to fund field trips to Seaworld, St. Augustine or host class parties. Corcoran said the project has a practical value to the student that mundane assignments can’t provide.

Candlemaking works for several different kinds of students because of the variety of work. There’s physical tasks such as cutting wicks and pouring wax. Candlemaking allows students to be artistic when they decorate the glass and wrap the candles. Then there’s the entrepreneurial side with people skills, that crop up when students sell the candles and manage money.

“The students work to their strengths whether it be wrapping, selling, something artistic, or pouring,” Corcoran said. “It’s so different than the traditional paper-pencil task and life skills are not something you cannot get in the classroom, so we’re taking it on the road.”

Corcoran’s class set up booths at the Lake Asbury Elementary library, Asbury United Methodist Church, booth between the schools and the Hometown Holiday Festival at Clarke Park in December. Corcoran said the earnings from these booths was a little over $500, well enough for the field trips.

“One of 10 kids, maybe two, would be able to pay the full amount,” Corcoran said. “It’s an expensive field trip.”

While Corcoran said she’s seen great support from the school concerning the project, she pays about $500 for materials such as scents, glasses and bags. Corcoran expressed gratitude at the amount of glass and donated used candles she received.

A teacher for 30 years, this isn’t the first time Corcoran has used a hands-on assignment to teach students about problem solving. Her previous classes have made clocks, birdhouses and Christmas ornaments out of recycled materials.

Allen Bauer, a 6th grader, and Jasien Cope, a 7th grader, liked how the repurposed candles helped the environment.

“It doesn’t pollute the earth,” Bauer said.

“It’s teaching us how to recycle,” Cope said.

“Learn how to use money in the real world, in the future if I’m a cashier I’ll know how to give change back and all the teachers showed me how,” said Aurora Danielle, an 11th grader.

Making the candles teaches students the importance of working in groups and relying on each other.

“If you don’t do it [your job], it’s still there, here if you don’t do it the whole process is ruined.”

“When people are purchasing the product, that’s like the payoff,” Corcoran said.

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