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Skills for Life


The Standard


Once a coach always a coach is an old adage which applies to a special group of people. Speed Sampley, a teacher at Fort Dale Academy, is just one of those people.

After stepping down from coaching football for 34 years, he turned his attention to teaching students skills they will use in everyday life.

He was approached by Fort Dale Academy to teach one of their Student Success classes when a teacher decided to move on. Sampley said, “I kind of got it at the last minute.”

He added, “I talked with Headmaster Sikes and we discussed the idea of turning my Student Success class into a Life Skills class and we decided it would be a good thing.”

Sampley has taught his students various skills they will use in everyday life. Among those included are food preparation, simple sewing, how to put air in a tire, and how to check oil in a car.

Also, the students have learned minor plumbing repairs, working with budgets and accounting, mortgages, how to prepare for retirement, and even woodworking skills.

Most of the instruction is about hands on application of lessons learned.

Recently, the students built bird houses utilizing screw guns, hammers, and nail guns.

The houses will be placed at different locations on FDA’s campus after each class has voted on the house they like.

Sampley said the class decided, since they were using tools, to build four-foot tables for each classroom teacher that teaches Student Success.

He added that after putting the tables together, the students would sand the wood, then burn the wood with handheld propane torches, and then they would varnish and polyurethane the tables.

One of Sampley’s students, Aaralyn Cowles, said, “We’ve made food, we’ve cooked, and we’ve also learned about accounting and mortgages.”

Another student, Alyssa Johnson, said of the class, “To me it’s like a working class. We are learning things we will use in life later.” Yet another student, Sydney Blackmon, said, “I am really enjoying this class.”


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