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Damin Detweiler: Sailing Into His Future

Demian+standing+with+his+boat.+
Demian standing with his boat.

Demian standing with his boat.

Photo courtesy of Demian Detweiler

Photo courtesy of Demian Detweiler

Demian standing with his boat.

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Most high school students throughout the country are encouraged to attend college as the necessary avenue to achieve their dreams, Aspen High School senior, Demian Detweiler, has other plans. Instead of attending a traditional four year college next year, Detweiler will be attending the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Hadlock, Washington.

After being introduced to basic woodworking in middle school, Detweiler began building boats his freshman year in Wood Tech 1. He initially built a rowboat that couldn’t float, but has been studying and learning from his mistakes to hone his skills. Detweiler was even able to take one of his boats out on Twin Lake after buying an engine from his neighbor. He is currently working on his fourth boat, an acorn tender, which is also his biggest project to date. For Detweiler, woodworking is the perfect interactive and hands on activity.

“I don’t really like sitting around much and it’s something that through doing I’ve grown to love a lot,” Detweiler said.

When it came time to begin applying to college, Detweiler didn’t look at any traditional universities. After being encouraged to look at boatbuilding schools by a substitute teacher in his woodworking class as well as technical education teacher, John Fisher, he googled schools and fell in love with the first search result.

“College was never something I was super interested in. I didn’t really like the idea of continuing on with a real traditional English and math and social studies education,” Detweiler said.

He was recently accepted to his first choice school, the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, where he will spend his mornings learning about different types of boats and his afternoons getting hands on experience building boats. The school has approximately 60 students in total who graduate after just 12 months of schooling. After graduating, he plans on traveling the world and opening a boat shop. Damien also hopes to live on a boat during his time at the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building.

“I was thinking when it’s like pouring rain out it’s going to sound so cool just being out on a boat and hearing the rain on the deck,” Detweiler said.

AHS woodworking teacher, John Fisher, remembers a time when AHS had an abundance of technical classes like auto mechanics, nursing, cabinet making, and even cooperative education, where students had the opportunity to work in different trades and businesses in the community. He also believes that not every student is fit for a traditional college.

“I think it’s important for them to determine whether or not college is the right path because I firmly believe that not every student is intended to go to a four year college because there are many avenues for students to go in different directions,” Fisher said.

He is also very confident in Detweiler’s ability to succeed in boat building school and beyond.

“He’d be successful in anything he attempts but I think his direction is going to be towards continuing his boat building and who knows he may be off sailing across the country,” Fisher said.

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