When I came to Graland, Shop was a thriving class with Charlie Wilkinson -- with many bookcases and sometimes tables and even chairs made in the shop. In fact, I had a bookcase in U-51 that Ray Eslinger, the beloved, Argus-eyed head of maintenance and buildings, said was a vestige of the Chet Preisser years. Also,  Ray Eslinger who relished spending hours in the shop on the weekend, built me a wall-to-wall bookcase so that I could work ahead and while away hours playing with the ditto machine. Even the mice loved my bookcase -- that’s another story which, I believe, I shared in a previous SH posting.

The multi-talented Chet Preisser speaks about his other job at Graland:

“Graland’s shop has played a very important part in the educational development of the children. For many years, the shop was located in the basement of the Georgia Nelson Building. We had many hand tools and a few power tools such as a jigsaw, drill press, lathe, sander; most important, we had eager hands ready to create and build whatever imagination could invent. Not only did we learn how to use the various tools, but we learned also to build projects in the classrooms that would correlate with what the group was studying at that time. Some will remember a big boat built large enough to get into and pretend to take various trips down the river in the many teaching and learning situations. While some were making boats, others were making trains, airplanes, Viking ships, covered wagons, and stage scenery; still more children were creating a country store with counters and shelves stocked with real or pretend food, scales, and cash register, all to help in learning how to measure and make change.

“Many still remember working outside, building a playhouse for younger children, or constructing an Indian pueblo twenty feet square and two stories high, with ladders twice their size for the children to climb to the top and shout out war chants, signals, prayers, or mostly just to yell for the fun of it. We built a hogan, tepees, weaving frames, and made peace pipes. At the end of the year, the second grade put on  a performance, using the things they had made, showing how Indians lived during this period.”

Graland Country Day School

55 CLERMONT STREET    DENVER, CO 80220    303.399.0390   
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.