The man behind the mustache


Lucas Bleyle, Print Manager

The once-packed loft of the wood shop has been emptied of its stacks of wood stock piled over the years. A few piles of oak and walnut remain, destined for the lathe. Craig Boylan bustles around talking excitedly about the wood he plans to work with once he retires.

“I can take a piece of wood that has been maybe growing in a tree for a hundred years, try to examine it, and bring the beauty of that wood out and make something that will maybe last another hundred years,” Boylan said.

After 28 years of teaching, 23 of which were at Ames High, Mr. Boylan is ready to retire.

“I need to pass the torch,” he said. “I just want to have some time. I’ll be 66 in May and that’s enough time,” Boylan said. For many years Boylan has taught woodworking and MOC at Ames High, and he loves his job. However, he stresses that the school day doesn’t end at 3:30. He wants time not only to do more of his own wood projects, but also to be able to go fishing in the fall, golf more, attend more events for cars, and spend more time with his family.

Despite all of the things he is looking forward to, he will miss the students and staff of Ames High. “The people are really what make teaching great,” Boylan said. “Sometimes I wonder if I am making a difference in people’s lives and what helps me is like at Christmas when former students come back to thank you or show you what they are doing.” He spoke of a student who went on to be the structural concrete superintendent for the New Atlanta Falcons football stadium, and another who went on to sell guitars after building his first guitar as a senior.

“One of the biggest things I want to pass on is to take pride in what they do or do something really, really well,” Boylan said. “I just don’t see enough of that in the world; people taking pride in what they do.” He admitted only a few of his students will go on to be woodworkers or architects, but he hopes they can apply this lesson to their life as Boylan has to his.

Over the next few months as he continues to clear the rest of his wood out of the woodlab and looks to find a woodshop where he can continue to partake in his beloved craft, he looks forward to retirement. Although he is soon done teaching, he is not done learning.

“I’ve been doing [woodworking] for 50 years, and I am still learning,” Boylan said.