Robert Ortiz will be teaching furniture and cabinet making at Luna for the third time in his career. Ortiz is determined to make it his best.
“So many students have been asking me in town when I was coming back to Luna and teach,” said Ortiz. “I came up here to Luna interested in taking a class in furniture and cabinet making myself and saw the shop was closed. After talking to Dr. John Thompson (CTE director), he asked me if I was interested to teach it again and I said ‘yes.’”
Ortiz will teach his furniture and cabinet making class as an eight-week course beginning on March 21. Thompson said that a similar course will be taught at the Springer satellite, also beginning March 21. An instructor is being recruited to teach the same class at the Santa Rosa satellite.
Ortiz started teaching at Luna in 1981 and retired 25 years later. He returned to teach part-time for six years but has not taught furniture and cabinet making since 2015.
“With my certifications, I can teach furniture and cabinet making anywhere in America,” said Ortiz. “My intention is to concentrate on safety instruction for the first two weeks of the course. Safety is a priority. After that, we will start working on projects.”
Before his class begins, Ortiz has to make everything safe and complete.
“I won’t feel right if someone got hurt,” said Ortiz. “Once we get the safety instruction done, we will start with the cabinets and furniture.”
Ortiz, who is 74, said he had a heart attack in 2018, but he said he is full of energy and feels better than ever.
“I am so happy to be coming back, and I am happy for the students,” said Ortiz. “What you buy at the store is standard; what our students will make will be customized. Some students may start with a picture frame, and some may build an entertainment center. I am happy to start building this program back. I think this will be good for the students and for the college.”
Ortiz said that giving 100 percent in class is not enough for him.
“I intend to give it 150 percent for the students,” said Ortiz. “Not only will I teach the students, but I will help the students. I ask the students to give me a sketch of what they want, and then we go from there.
Ortiz said this could be his last hurrah in teaching.
“I enjoyed my time here at Luna,” says Ortiz. “It wasn’t a job for me, because I enjoyed it so much. I missed teaching a lot, and I was sad to hear that no one was teaching cabinet and furniture classes. My hope is to teach one or two semesters and train someone to take it over. God willing, I can do well for the students.”