Wayzata senior proves woodshop isn't just for guys
Success in any field takes practice. On Jan. 18, Claire Bohlig and the rest of her wind ensemble have a performance scheduled, so on Wednesday morning, they were busy trying to get their part just right.

This Wayzata High School senior is a musician, captain of the Science Olympiad team, and a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

But if you really want to see her shine, look no further than Wayzata's woodshop class.

"It's really a place that, after all your academic studying and learning you can go and take a step back and make something with your hands, so it's nice," Bohlig said.

This activity is in her blood. Bohlig's parents are both mechanical engineers, and at a young age, she helped her dad with projects around the house.

"From the cabinets in our kitchen, the drywall, the garage doors even," Bohlig said. "I remember working on the bathrooms. Everything I've had a hand in."

That early experience has paid off.

"She's probably the most talented woodworker that I've had in several years come out of here," said Kyle Swenson, Wayzata's tech-ed teacher.

Swenson doesn't hold back when asked about Bohlig's talents.

"She's the one that makes you want to get up and come to work in the morning," he said. "Her attitude is phenomenal, she gets along great with everybody, she works hard and she has the intelligence to go with that hard work."

Breaking Barriers

That talent and intelligence has translated to national recognition.

In 2017, she took first place in the Skills USA state cabinet making competition. Then she went onto the national competition in Kentucky and placed 17th in a male-dominated field.

"I definitely think I am breaking barriers," she said. "When I competed at state level, I was the only female there. And then at nationals, out of about 50 people, I was one of two girls."

Now, one of her goals is to bring more women into woodworking.

"It's not as hard as people make it out to be," she said. "And it can end up being really fun because you're making things with your own hands, and you can see your progress."

Meanwhile, her wood shop teacher sees big things for her future.

"The sky is the limit for her," Swenson said. "She's very talented, and I know that we're gonna be reading about her in the paper one day."

Bohlig is undecided on a college, but she said she'd like to study mechanical engineering. And, she says that cabinet making will always be in her future. She plans to go for another state title in March.

Delane Cleveland

Jan. 10, 2018


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