BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Rainforest Project is an interdisciplinary project created and put into motion by Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) Honors Dance Department Coordinator Sheila Buttermore. Through the use of student and faculty choreography, the Gifted and Talented Honors Dance Program are creating a rainforest themed performance. The multimedia set, lobby installation and lobby full of facts about the rainforest are created by other SCVTHS Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs. Each week, we will visit a CTE program involved in the project, feature general career information about that program and explore how they have contributed to the project. 

The welding program’s contributions to the Rainforest Project involved the creation of the set that will be used on stage during the performances.  Welding instructor Don Smith explained how the impressively large set took his entire class nearly four weeks to fabricate, assemble and weld all of the square and rectangular steel tubing pieces together. Smith also went on to explain how the assembly involved using countless bolts and hinges to successfully create what the dance department envisioned. Smith said that having the students learn to look at a drawing, and then cut and assemble the construction, was a great example of the practical experiences that can be found in his classroom setting.

Students in the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School welding program take part in many different practical lessons and learn many different types of welding in preparation for their careers beyond graduation. Graduates from the welding program obtain the necessary information and skills to become entry level or apprentice welders. Smith said that, while the majority of his graduating students go directly into the unions, some attend post-secondary institutions and trade schools to further their education and even become welding engineers.  Smith went on to add that because there is no specific union for welders, his students are hired throughout the construction field and are in great demand.

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The Rainforest Project will culminate with a series of performances by the Gifted and Talented Dance Program available to both the public and all of Somerset County’s middle and high elementary schools.  On April 24 and 25, special performances with dinner options will be held.  Dinner and performance packages will cost $20 per person with dinner scheduled for 6 p.m. and the performance at 7:30 p.m. Performance-only tickets will also available for $12. 

Seating is limited for the dinner and reservations are required.  Please contact Mary Lynne McAnally at or 908-526-8900, ext. 7125 to purchase the dinner theater package tickets.

Performances for Somerset County middle and high elementary schools will be held on April 27, 28 and 29 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. These performances will be held free of charge, however seating is limited and reservations are required. Please contact Sheila Buttermore at or 908-526-8900, ext. 7277 to schedule your visit.

For more information on this story, please contact James Strickhart at 908-526-8900, ext. 7169, or