Three Independence Middle School students--eighth grader Vincent Taormina and seventh graders Ashton Newell and Isaac Ussia--come to school early every day to work on a project to benefit the Bethel Park Historical Society and the Schoolhouse Arts Center on the corner of South Park Road and Park Avenue.
The Schoolhouse is now home to various businesses, but originally it was the first high school building in Bethel Park. The building fell into disrepair over the years, but recently the Bethel Park Historical Society has undertaken a complete renovation of the building to include many historical artifacts about the school district and the community. A recent fundraising campaign raised enough money to replace the 107 windows in the building. The Society wanted to honor those who donated the money for the windows, and that's where the IMS students come in to help.
Historical Society Secretary Bill Haberthur contacted IMS Principal David Muench about the possibility of students making the 107 name/dedication plates that would be affixed under all of the new windows, and Mr. Muench immediately knew who to ask to do the job. Vincent, Ashton and Issac work every morning from 7:10 to 7:40 AM, and in about two month's time, engraved all 107 plates using the laser engraver. Then they hand punched four holes in the plates' corners so they can be affixed under the windows as a permanent reminder of the community's support of the project. After they punched the holes, the students also sanded any rough materials off the plates.
But that's only the first phase of this project. Next, the students will use the CNC router in the Library's Steel City Collaboratory area to make 9 wooden plaques to acknowledge the donors who gave $15,000 each for the renovation of the Schoolhouse's classrooms. Once the wooden plaques are engraved, they will be covered with an acrylic paint. The third phase of the project will have students creating outdoor signage listing the Schoolhouse's tenants.
The three students continue to be excited about working on this project and are anxious to visit the Schoolhouse once all three phases are completed to see their work. Vincent looks forward to visiting the Schoolhouse because looking at the completed project will help him to "know I did something great for the community."
All three students enjoy working with the tech ed equipment and would perhaps like to do something with their careers that would involve the use of this technology.
The entire project should be completed by the end of March. Please click here
to see some photos of the students working with the window name plates.