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PADUCAH — Hands-on learning while helping the community: Students at Paducah Public Schools are putting their carpentry skills to good use.

Michael Hayden teaches carpentry at the Paducah Innovation Hub, and one of their recent projects was with Market House Theatre. Market House is short-staffed because of the pandemic. So, Hayden's class helped make set pieces for the theater's upcoming play.

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"Man, it kind of feels good you had an opportunity to help out," said carpentry student Anthony Daniels. "With the Innovation Hub, we got new equipment, and it felt like the new equipment helps us do a little bit more."

Daniels said he particularly enjoyed making the set pieces, because of "the simple fact that I know it's going to get used."

The class also sanded down, painted and refurbished a porch swing for a woman who lives nearby.

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"It was her late husband's, and he had recently just passed away and everything, and she wanted them to restore and everything. I would assume that it's for memory's sake," said Hayden.

Other things Hayden's class has built include hunting blinds and duck houses of local farms. Hayden said the new space and equipment at the Innovation Hub make doing more projects possible.

"Because of the new machinery and things that we can work with and show the children or the kids, it just gives us a wider view to help out the community as a whole," said Hayden. He said it's fulfilling. 

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Carpentry students at the Innovation Hub helped build set pieces for Market House Theatre.

Hayden said about 34 students helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity last semester. He said the students were involved with everything from the footer all the way to the roof.

This is the first school year that the Innovation Hub is operational.

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Carpentry students fixed up a porch swing that belonged to a woman's late husband.