Owl Manufacturing applies decal to DPW truck

Students in two Seymour High School classes had the opportunity to get out of the classroom this past week to work on a project that will be seen in the community for years to come.

The students were working for Owl Manufacturing, a student-owned manufacturing business inside the high school where instead of working for wages, the company’s “employees” are paid in high school and college credits. The business’ clients pay for the school’s labor and material costs.

On Thursday, members of two Owl Manufacturing classes visited the Seymour Department of Public Works garage at 865 F Ave. East at Freeman Field to apply a decal to both sides of a new rear load packer truck.

Jeremy Wischmeier and Curt Schleibaum are the program’s two advisers, and they guided students through the process of manufacturing, designing and applying the decal.

Wischmeier said he liked leading the project because it was something the students can remember working on in class when they see it around the city years from now.

The two classes worked during two different afternoon class periods to apply one decal on one side of the truck and start on the second one.

They cleaned the surface of the truck and used masking tape to hold the top layer of the decal to the truck. From there, the students slowly unpeeled the decal downward in horizontal sections and squeegeed it onto the truck from left to right.

Student Malaine Lampkin designed the artwork for the decal. She said the class wanted to do an Earth Day theme and utilize Crayola-inspired artwork to appeal to children as well as adults.

While the sophomore has worked on her own art before, she said she has never seen it as big as it was on the side of the city-owned truck.

“It’s really cool,” Lampkin said. “I normally do a lot of small artwork, and so it’s really cool when you walk out into the community and you just see things that you have made because you know that something you are doing is impacting where you live.”

Chad Dixon, director of the department of public works, said Owl Manufacturing has helped his department with projects before and he wanted to use their expertise after buying a new truck. He said he had pride watching the SHS students put the decal on the truck.

“I took a tour in Leadership Jackson County and I saw all of the things that they can actually do,” Dixon said. “I was surprised at how much they do.”

The projects that Owl Manufacturing tackle include 3D design using 3D printers and creating stickers and T-shirts.

One of the students said he enjoyed the diversity in projects and the class typically works outside the classroom.

“It’s one of my favorite classes because you get to work on different things,” sophomore Michael Sandefur said. “The main thing that I like is seeing things that we make outside of school and things around the school that we make.”

Sophomore Drew Knutson said his class prepared for applying the large decal by making small decal signs for different parts of the school, such as the main office, library and cafeteria.

He said he found it much preferable to be in Owl Manufacturing compared to other typical classes, like algebra or social studies.

Alex Garcia, a sophomore, said he recommended the class and felt he got a good experience from his time in class.

“It’s a lot more of an experience,” he said. “It’s something that a lot of schools don’t get. It’s a great program. We get a lot from this.”

Junior Titus Boyd said he usually makes T-shirts in the class, but he thought applying the decal was pretty fun. He said he had to be careful not to poke a hole when squeegeeing the decal onto a surface.

While there was much potential for bubbles and wrinkles to pop up on the decal, sophomore Jacob Rennekamp said he helped squeegee the decal onto the truck and wasn’t worried about failure.

“I’m never really stressed,” he said. “I just go for it.”