The Illinois Design Educators Association (IDEA) named Plainfield South High School Industrial Technology teacher Thomas Blake as its 2017 Drafting Teacher of the Year.
Blake is the 25th recipient of the award and the first District 202 teacher to earn the honor.
Helping students create a project to help them get into college and get a head start in a career is inspiring, Blake said.
“It makes you feel good when you can help somebody,” he said.
Blake teaches students to take an idea from paper to plan to finished product using tools including 3D printers, laser cutters, laser engravers and computer design programs.
Blake’s students also have participated in regional drafting competition and qualified for state contests.
Randy Hines, who was Blake’s predecessor at PSHS, nominated Blake for the honor.
Hines, who now works at Waubonsee Community College, said Blake has helped grow student interest in the computer aided design program at PSHS since he took over almost five years ago.
“From visiting his classroom, it is evident the students really strive for excellence under his leadership and are really engaged in learning,” Hines said.
Maggie Lay, Division Chairwoman for Creative Arts at PSHS, said Blake goes beyond classroom expectation to help all his students succeed.
“We have seen growth in enrollment in our CAD courses because students know that what they are learning is relevant to their futures,” Lay said.