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7Everyday Hero Dave Franks volunteers to teach shop class in Brighton

Vikan Middle School enjoys wood shop
Posted at 8:07 AM, Nov 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-06 10:07:27-05

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- There is something unique going on at Vikan Middle School in Brighton. A course that was abandoned long ago is making a comeback and it's all thanks to 7Everyday Hero Dave Franks. 

"He teaches two sections of shop for each semester for eighth graders," said Trina Norris-Buck, Vikan Middle School Principal.  

"We have a lot of kids who sit in class and listen to somebody talk to them. Here they have the opportunity to use their hands and actually come up with something, make something. And before they can do that, they have to know how to do it. We go through the drawing, the designing, estimating, all that before we build a project," Franks said. 

After a career as a builder, Franks got an idea.

"I thought about it. You know, wood shop would be awesome for this school because they haven't had for 20 some years here," Franks said.

So Vikan Middle School is home of the Knights, and now a carpenter who volunteers to teach shop. 

"There's something about the manipulation of your fingers and your hands that makes the brain kick in and they start getting involved in what they're doing," Franks said. 

Schools today must prepare students to be tech savvy, but human interaction is key in Dave Franks's class.

"When the students come in my door, they put their cell phones on the table," Franks said. 

"There is science in the class, there is math in there, there's communication, language arts, listening, speaking, working together," Norris-Buck said. 

"He has a gift that I never thought that he had because he was always quiet at home," explained Dave's wife, Sheran Mantich-Franks. 

The students listen intently and look up to Franks. 

"They pay attention to him. He's coach. He's Coach Franks," Norris-Buck said.

Coach, because Franks also volunteers to coach football, basketball, wrestling, and track. 

"He is here every single day," Norris-Buck said. 

Franks sees himself as much a motivator and an instructor and coach. 

"My message to the student is there is so much more in you. You can do more than you think you can do," Franks said. 

Dave Franks believes the heart is happiest when the head and the hands work together. 

"I get this feeling of accomplishment, passing on the information I have to another generation and then they can pass it on. There is nothing greater than that," Franks said. 

To learn more about volunteering with Brighton's 27-J School District go to

Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.