TILTON — For the past two years, the state Department of Resources and Economic Development has been holding an annual contest for middle school students called What’s So Cool About Manufacturing in an effort to promote manufacturing to the students of New Hampshire.
In this, its third year, Winnisquam Regional Middle School students, under the direction of WRMS staff member Aaron Baker, stepped up to the challenge, joining forces with Mike Mulavey from Watts Water Technologies in Franklin to develop a three-minute video highlighting all of the amazing technologies, machines, and people involved in turning a pile of raw metal into the valves we use in every aspect of modern life.
As part of this joint initiative, Mulavey visited WRMS and met with students in a special enrichment class. Together, they set up a plan for accomplishing this task in only nine short weeks. As part of this process, Aaron Baker guided students through the use of photography, videography, sound systems, interview skills, script writing, lighting, and all of the technology required to edit and pull it all together.
One of the most exciting aspects of the video project was when students visited the Watts plant and received firsthand knowledge and experience in many aspects of the valve manufacturing process. From reception, to design, to the manufacturing floor, students and staff were provided with an in depth look into the process and people behind the magic. Watts’ employees and management were informative, supportive and accommodating in every way, even providing students with an amazing lunch spread to keep them energized as they worked. By the end of the day, students had over three hours of raw footage that would need to be reduced to a powerful three minute video.
On Feb. 10, after weeks of editing including some tough decisions about what to drop and what to include, the video was completed and submitted to the state. Our submission along with many others from other middle schools are now being reviewed by industry experts to determine who best represented their industry partners this year.
Baker, pleased with this year’s outcome and looking forward to next year’s competition, said, “I enjoyed working with the students to plan out, shoot, and edit the project. We’re happy with the way the video turned out and think we have a good chance of winning.”
Seventh-graders Kaitlyn Carey and Ian chase said, “It was a lot of fun learning about manufacturing and all the steps it takes to make something. We had a fun time taking videos with people [we] know and talking to people who work there. It takes responsibility, hard work, and teamwork.”
Eighth-grader Jay Smith said, “This was a fun project to do. We got to see how a Watts valve was made.”
Sixth-graders Brandon Ortmeier and William Trowsdale reflected, “The best part about this project was watching the lava (molten brass) pouring into the mold. Watts is an amazing facility and is making great things.”
Watts engineer and project manager Mike Mulavey explaining the positions and machines used to manufacture valves to students Ian Chase and Sheamus Dunn. (Courtesy photo)
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Olivia Mills and enrichment team members recording Mike Mulavey as he explains part of the manufacturing process. (Courtesy photos)