Education feature: Carpentry instructor finishes 30 years of teaching

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Frank Oborny, right, helps student James Bruffett during a wood working class at Clovis Community College. After 30 years with the college, Oborny is retiring at the end of the spring semester.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The end of the Clovis Community College’s spring semester will bring an end to Frank Oborny’s 30 year tenure with the college.

Oborny began with the college’s building construction program in 1979. Oborny worked as a general contractor after being in the Air Force for over six years. He left the service while stationed at Cannon Air Force Base and made Clovis his home.

Clovis Community College President John Neibling said the long-time teacher will be missed.

“I think a 30-year tenure is a remarkable accomplishment for anybody with anything,” he said. “The fact that he’s been here so long with the same program is quite a tribute to him as a teacher.”

Oborny currently teaches a host of classes including wood working and cabinet making. Oborny said he was fortunate to get the job at CCC.

“It’s nice to have a job you enjoy doing,” he said.

When the college first offered the wood working class, Oborny said the class was consistently full and they kept adding classes to keep up with the demand. Now, there are wood working and cabinet making classes 5 nights a week.

“The only problem is I’m here every night so I can’t go out and catch a ball game,” he laughed. “But you have to be careful what you complain about.”

In Oborny’s classes, there isn’t a set assignment. Oborny said his students work on projects they want to work on for their home.

“That’s what makes it a lot fun,” he said. “In these classes, everyone is doing something different. There’s no repetition and there are always new challenges.”

Taking students to competitions is one of the things Oborny said he will miss most. Oborny said he let his classes choose two students to go to the National Homebuilders Shows.

“It was always a lot of fun. The students would get out and get to see what they are doing compared to what others are doing,” Oborny said.

Over the past 30 years, Oborny said he has seen many changes at the college.

“When I started, we didn’t even have this campus,” he said during a wood working class Thursday evening.

Oborny said there would be classes going on in the classrooms around his shop while his class was using noisy machinery.

“It was packed. We slowly got more buildings and more classrooms,” he said.

Many of Oborny’s students take his classes multiple times to work on several projects in their homes. James Buffett Sr. is one of them. This is the third time Buffett has taken Oborny’s class. But rebuilding kitchen cabinets aside, Buffett said he comes to CCC because of Oborny.

“He’s excellent. He knows the job,” Buffett said. “I chose to come back because he’s here.”