South Walton High School Students Blowing Some Hot Air

By: Kate Eckman Email
By: Kate Eckman Email

Some students may think all they get out of school is a lot of hot air. But in this class, hot air is an asset.

"I couldn't run them back to class right now. And in the point and click world, something that's entertaining enough to keep them busy for more than a couple of minutes, you kind of hold on to."

"Not a lot of kids get to melt glass and make really cool stuff. I was working the flame thrower the other day, and that's just amazing."

"You can just feel the 3000 degree heat coming out of the top and it's supposed to be a spout that comes up. It's kind of dangerous I guess so it adds a little bit of excitement."

South Walton High School is home to one of only three glass blowing courses in the country. But getting funding for this unique program was no easy feat.

Pilcher wrote grant applications for about three years before receiving funds from the Walton Education Foundation, Northwest Florida Improvement Foundation and other cultural arts associations.

"I think we got turned down three or four times so by the time we got it, we pretty much got everything we wanted."

What they have now is $12,000 worth of glass blowing equipment.

"I'm really thankful for Mr. Pilcher because he's been fighting for this for so long. He's been trying to get us all this equipment, and it's so expensive and it's so hard to even get permission to do it because it's so dangerous."

"You build a lot of respect for the stuff that you're working with, with all of his really colorful and vivid examples."

"He definitely plays a part in why I want to do glass blowing."

The only other two high schools in the country that offer a glass blowing class are in California and Washington State.


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