Making holiday dreams come true

UHS Tech Ed students make wooden helicopters for Toys for Tots

By Karen Cresta, Correspondent, The Times


A rendering of the final product: a hand-made wooden helicopter, 100 of which Unionville High School students produced as their annual donation to the Toys For Tots program.

EAST MARLBOROUGH – With little more than two weeks before Christmas, children across Chester County are dreaming of the presents awaiting them under the tree — and the excitement and thrill of opening those gifts.

But many children in our area would not have anything to dream about, if it wasn’t for the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation and its annual campaign – “Every kid deserves a little joy…a toy.”

And it has become something of a local tradition, Unionville High School students contributed to the campaign this year by applying skills learned in classes to make 100 wooden toy helicopters.

UHS students in the Technology and Engineering Education (Tech Ed) classes – the course name was just updated to add “Engineering” in its title to reflect state standards – along with the help of the Technology and Engineering Club, continued the tradition of making the wooden toys and demonstrating the skills of technology and engineering.


Unionville High School students in the school’s Tech Ed program work on painting the toy wooden helicopters that will brighten the Christmas morning of many area needy children. From left Christian Laugdon, Bailee Suarez, and French exchange student, Salome Louzoun

The toy-making involved students in many different capacities.  Students in the Principles of Engineering class designed a toy helicopter using the Autodesk Inventor computer program.  Each part of the toy was designed in 3-D, assembled into a model with moving parts and rendered a color.  Students used a Computer-Numerically Controlled (CNC) router to cut out the parts for the body of the toy.

The parts were sent to the Materials and Manufacturing Lab for students to round the corners, drill holes, sand, and make propellers.

Students in the Photography and Graphics Lab applied various stains to the parts and the Materials and Manufacturing Lab finalized assembly.  They applied their photography and videography skills to take still pictures and video – the video was broadcasted during the school’s morning news.

“The Toys for Tots program at UHS provides a great opportunity for our students.  They get to apply the unique skills they learn in Technology and Engineering class to genuine and meaningful community service.  Hopefully, it reinforces the value of what they are learning in class and teaches the importance of helping people, especially during the holiday season,” Mike Berkeishiser, UHS Tech Ed teacher, proudly stated.

The toys could not be made without the generous support of the UHS Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) which provided funding for the purchase of the materials.


In addition to hand-making toys for needy kids, Unionville High School is seeking donations for the Toys For Tots program, with a drop off box in the school’s front lobby. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 18. From left students Andrew Rosenberg, Ryan Barrett and Alex Pechin pose in front of the Toys for Tots collection box in the UHS main office entrance

UHS is also a designated toy collection site with a box located in the front lobby.  You can also help a needy child’s holiday dreams come true, by donating to the annual Toys for Tots campaign, and helping it to reach the goal of collecting at least 7 million new and unwrapped toys this holiday season.

Toys for Tots does not accept realistic toy weapons and toys with food items.  The deadline for drop off at UHS is December 18.

The students and teachers will ensure pick-up of the toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program in time for the holidays.

More information about Toys for Tots can be found at  If you have any questions regarding UHS’ Toys for Tots initiative, you can e-mail Mike Berkeihiser at

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