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Fundraiser Sparks Purpose for Design Engineering Class

Fundraiser Sparks Purpose for Design Engineering Class

Design engineering students at LSHS raise money for the Ryan Smith RelentlesS Fund with a scented candle project.

Five finished candles displayed on a shelf along with a laser engraved RelentlesS lid.

Design Engineering students' candles, ready for sale in December 2023

Mr. Todd Garber and his student teacher, Millersville University senior Mr. Thomas Eby, were looking for a challenge to engage their design engineering students this fall and found it by turning students into entrepreneurs for a good cause. They put the class to work designing, pouring, marketing, and selling candles to benefit The Ryan N. Smith Relentless Fund. 

Design engineering is a high school technology education elective developed to “explore engineering principles by applying hands-on and minds-on problem-solving skills to solve real-life engineering problems.” Students spend time drafting, sketching, 3-D printing, using AutoCADD, and participating in design challenges. This year, Mr. Eby’s prior candlemaking experience was handy for a new design challenge.

Mr. Garber was inspired by 2018 graduate Ryan Smith, who passed away at the age of 21 after a 19-month battle with acute myeloid leukemia. Ryan’s mother, Kim, is a candle enthusiast who lights a candle as soon as she gets home each day, so candles seemed like a perfect fit to produce as a fundraiser. The class quickly got to work.      

Students split into four candle businesses, each starting with $74.32 in the bank, exactly the cost of materials. Everyone signed up to serve in one of six positions within their company - finance, research & development, production, marketing, human resources, and CEO - each with individual responsibilities for which they would ultimately be graded.

Businesses were tasked to create at least 12 candles of the same scent, color, and weight. All candles were to be properly labeled and topped with a lid laser-engraved with the RelentlesS logo. 

The design engineers ended up making 72 candles, which were quickly snapped up by high school faculty and staff and members of the community. The class donated more than $600 in proceeds to the RelentlesS Fund. The project was so successful that Mr. Garber and Mr. Eby plan to do a second, larger run with their spring semester classes.

students in various stages of making candles; stirring and pouring wax