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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

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Adrian Philip carves a path toward success

Graphic illustration by Gary Pan and Erin Fitzpatrick Used with permission from Alexander Chu

The stale aroma of earthy lumber mixed with the impermeable presence of sawdust creates an atmosphere that makes sophomore Adrian Philip feel right at home. Traveling from Lynbrook to Monta Vista High School’s carpentry workshop for interminable hours each week, he carves out a unique path for himself in woodworking and selling pens.

His initial exposure to the field began by watching carpentry videos on YouTube. Those short clips invigorated his curiosities and desire to begin woodworking. 

“I liked how they could craft whatever they wanted out of material as simple as wood,” Philip said. “Many of the materials you could get at your local Home Depot.”

At the onset of his journey, Philip constructed his first project of a wooden workbench in fourth grade. He gathered his father’s power tools, a saw, screws and two-by-four cutouts of wood to do so. 

“I learned that woodworking isn’t as hard as it seems,” Philip said. “After that first project, I felt motivated because I knew I could do it.”

With more self-discovery and experimentation, he eventually created an entire shed. The entire process took around two weeks during the summer of his freshman year. Featuring a completely painted shed, which includes a door with miniature windows, the shed acts as an occasional workshop and storage unit. 

“I am proud of what I was able to create,” Philip said. “It works great because it has the practical aspect of storing all my tools.”

His primary workshop is still at Monta Vista, where he has access to almost industrial-scale tools and resources. As a Lynbrook student, he must make a daily 9-mile round-trip bike ride to Monta Vista to attend his carpentry class. Since the carpentry classes are designated to sixth period, Philip travels to Monta Vista every other day of the week; on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

“Although it’s far, I still wanted to do it because woodworking is something I’ve been doing for a long time,” Philip said. “It’s something I’m really passionate about.”

Most of his current projects consist of wooden pens as he finds satisfaction in the ability for such simple projects to produce a diverse variety of finished products. The pens hold unique sizes, shapes, functions and finishes — all individually and carefully crafted. 

Being completely self-funded, Phillip holds a part-time job to pay for all the expenses of his carpentry endeavors. Along with a part-time job, he has also begun to sell personalized handmade pens to friends and classmates. With less than a dozen pens sold and still at the premise of its creation, Philip’s small business was inspired by one of his friends. 

“I was using them in class and my friends noticed,” Philip said. “They said, ‘Oh, that’s a cool pen. Where can I get one?’ I told them I made it and they asked if they could buy some.” 

Although currently an influential aspect of his life, Philip does not plan to pursue woodworking as a profession; still, he will maintain this interest and practice as a hobby. As he enters a busy junior year, he will continue to prioritize his schoolwork above carpentry projects, but with any spare time, he plans to finish setting up a website for his small business to create and sell more pens. 

“I am uncertain if woodworking would be an actual career for me, but I don’t plan to stop selling pens on the side,” Philip said.

In any case, the experience in Monta Vista’s carpentry course has taught him multitudes of priceless new skills and knowledge in the field of woodworking. Unfortunately, Monta Vista is currently the only high school in the entire southwest Bay Area that has sustained its woodshop class due to declining enrollment and interest in woodshop. 

“This trend is ultimately part of a broader shift away from traditional vocational skills and towards a greater emphasis on higher education,” Philip said. “As a result, kids often find themselves with limited time to pursue their hobbies or explore other electives, which has been seen by the gradual disappearance of other optional courses as well.”

Individuals who plan to pursue woodworking but do not have access to a carpentry elective course can follow a similar path to that of Philip’s. Through his self-taught journey of carpentry, he has observed how valuable online tutorials are for beginners who are interested in the field.

“Beginners can try finding inspiration online and making, for example, a cutting board,” Philip said. “Find something that you don’t need many tools for so it’s less expensive and easier to get started.”

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About the Contributor
Yvonne Wu
Yvonne Wu, Staffer
(she/her) Yvonne Wu is a junior and a first-year staffer. She enjoys playing tennis and piano, as well as listening to music, eating food and sleeping.

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