EVERGREEN - Physical education teachers spend a lot of time coaching in the gym and on the field, but this week’s One Class at a Time winner also spends a lot of time coaching in a makeshift wood shop.
Ross Darner, who is from Whitefish, has coached over 100 teams of junior high athletes in Evergreen. Behind his desk is a gallery wall of over 100 teams.
“That’s 23 years of teams, I coach football, basketball, boys and girls," explained Darner. "So there's lots of teams behind me.”
Coach Darner is a local Montanan from Whitefish who loves coaching and teaching vocational arts to his middle school students.
“They’re very resilient and they come to school and they really take a lot of pride in the school," said Darner.
He also coaches students in a woodshop — or what he calls a builder’s class — as they make toolboxes together.
“It’s actually my favorite project that we do in all the things that we build is our woodworking unit," Darner shared. "The kids really get into it because they just basically step into the classroom and start building right away.”
He will use his $250 One Class at a Time grant to buy lumber — which has risen enough in price to make the cost of a toolbox about $8 to $10 per student.
"It helps them with their measurements and just lifelong skills, getting your hands on things, and not having to pay for something, but you can build it yourself - that’s the greatest part of the class," said Darner.