In a bid to help a local race have some unique keepsakes at the finish line a Bracebridge area high school teacher has organized a team of woodworkers from his wood shop class to get the job done. The target, 500 miniature canoe paddles.

The race in question is the Muskoka Rocks Road Race, which is, in turn, raising funds for Camp Oochigeas, a camp for children dealing with cancer.

With the clock ticking down on the Muskoka Lakes Secondary School school year teacher Shane Doyle has managed to cut out some 598 paddles out and now students are using a brand on each side and then dipping them in varnish. They can get through around 100 per day and double that if they are organized.

Doyle has been impressed by what his students have managed to do, with many of them volunteering lunch hours and after school.

The fundraising race was created 15 years ago by runners Laurel Brooks and Lynn Keane. Normally they would hand out some form of medallion on a ribbon, but the idea for the unique paddle design, which is about the size of a normal keychain, was born.

When Doyle was approached, the former home builder, who is used to deadlines, agreed to do it. But using a custom-designed brand that had to be ordered out of the USA ate up some production time.

Still, despite the time pressure, Doyle says his students have learned some real-world lessons in this exercise. While the race is scheduled for August 5th at the Peninsula Recreation centre, the students needed to design, cut, sand, brand and finish the 500 paddles before exams start next week.

Each of the students is custom branding the other side of the paddles they worked on with an individual design.