Berthoud High School Unique Tradition

Berthoud High School has a tradition that most people and students do not know about. For the past ten years Berthoud High School has been making pens out of the wood from the school’s old bleacher seats. The bleachers were replaced with the plastic ones and the construction teacher, Robert Sommerfeld, made the decision to save the old wood. He started the tradition with making pens for retiring staff members and later on Vice Principal Michael Dewall recommended that they pay a student to make pens for graduating seniors who are signing commitment letters for colleges. The wood gets stored above the finish room in the construction workshop. Sommerfeld says that “there is still old gum on the bottom of the seats! Gross, but kind of nostalgic”

The process of making the pens is usually a three day process. Two of the days are spent in just preparation. The wood is first soaked in a pre-stain for twenty-four hours and then dried for twenty-four hours to help stabilize the wood since it is so dry and brittle. Then on the third day they actually spin the block of wood and shape it on the wood lathe. After the shape is there they polish it and put it together with their pen-making kit.

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