VIGNETTE > Vocational Training

Tam High Principal, E. E. Wood believed that students learned by doing, and he encouraged them to do so.  Both boys and girls were prepared upon graduation to enter their field immediately.  It all started with the establishment of a school within a school, the Tamalpais Union Polytechnic High School. From 1910 on, boys built furniture and other equipment for the school. From 1912 on, girls in Domestic Science classes did the cooking for the cafeteria.

There were courses in drafting, printing, machine shop, cosmetology, auto shop, horticulture, brick laying, concrete work, carpentry, wood shop, electricity, and blacksmithing. The Drawing department with its 10 courses designed articles for the shop to make.  It also prepared sketches and blueprints used in the construction of the buildings.  Every art course was connected with practical use.  Fashion shows every year featured dresses designed by the girls.  The Commercial and Printing Departments did a great deal of work for the school. In 1913, an electric shop was built with ten forges for blacksmithing. In 1914, an automobile shop opened to repair cars for faculty and students. Until the 1940s, only a small percentage of the graduates went on to college.  Most went to work upon graduation.  Mr. Wood made sure they were prepared.