George Lucas Educational Foundation
Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Student Zeana McGuire Gets Musical in Woodshop

September 27, 2010
Credit: Ethan Pines
Zeana McGuire crafted a swinging Adirondack chair and an electric guitar in the building-trades program at Sheldon High.

Name: Zeana McGuire
School: 2010 Graduate of Sheldon High School
Location: Elk Grove Unified School District
CTE: Sheldon Building Trades
Status: Class of 2010, attending Cosumnes River College, Sacramento, CA

To observe her, you'd think Zeana McGuire is channeling Elvis, especially if Elvis had made his own guitar and painted it. It's a remarkable-looking instrument, colored different shades of purple -- her favorite color -- and coated so it glimmers. It boasts a purple strap that Zeana wears over a gold lamé zipper jacket, jeans with gold studs that run lengthwise, and white sneakers with a gold design.

She's one of a handful of girls in Sheldon High's building-trades pathway. "I guess not many girls want to get their hands dirty," she supposes, "and in this class, you can’t be scared about that." The four-year program offers classes in everything from construction to cabinetry.

Zeana had taken wood shop in middle school and knew she wanted to continue in high school, where she could have more creative control and build bigger things. During her junior year she built the classic Adirondack chair, but for her senior project, Zeana decided to make it a "double" and constructed a swinging love seat based on the archetypal design. She did research, got design help from classmates who were into physics, and endured a little trial and error with weight distribution. The finished product is indistinguishable from something you'd find at an outdoor furniture store.

College has always been on her list, and Zeana has met all the requirements for admission to the University of California and California State University systems. Currently, she is enrolled at Cosumnes River College, a community college, and she's planning on majoring in visual/performing arts or TV and video production.

She's not big on academics but says the building-trades program made the rest of school bearable. "I tried my best in all my classes, and by my senior year, for the first time, I got straight A's. I was very proud about that. But it was always my electives that motivated me to come to school. They’re like dessert. As long as I can look forward to them, I can do the rest."

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  • 9-12 High School

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