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NVTHS carpenters take Eco-Challenge

February 23, 2018

WESTFORD -- Students in the Carpentry program at Nashoba Valley Technical High School are learning not only to build structures, but also to build a cleaner environment. 

The Carpentry/Cabinetmaking program at the Westford-based school has entered this year's eighth annual Eco-Carpentry Challenge, which promotes resourcefulness and recycling, and provides an opportunity for students to develop their creative carpentry skills while demonstrating their commitment to recycling. 

The challenge, sponsored by The Furniture Trust, tasks students in carpentry classes across Massachusetts with taking used office furniture, provided by the trust, and refashioning it into a new product, using woodworking and metal tools, hardware, sandpaper, paint and other materials. The used furniture can be cut, planed and drilled to the particular project's specifications. There are no requirements or themes -- the contest encourages teams of up-and-coming carpenters to be unrestrictedly creative. 

When finished, Nashoba Tech's project will be picked up and brought to District Hall in Boston, where all projects will be on display Thursday, May 10. 

"They take all this old office furniture and, rather than landfill it, they have carpentry students repurpose it for nonprofit organizations," said Jonathan Pryor, one of the school's Carpentry instructors. 

In addition to receiving old furniture, each team entered into the contest receives a gift card to Home Depot to purchase items necessary to fulfill their project.

Pryor said this is the first time Nashoba Tech has taken on the eco-challenge, and he expects the project to expand beyond the Carpentry program and to also include students in the Automotive Technology, Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing and Advanced Manufacturing programs. 

"We'll try and collaborate as much as we can and get other programs involved," he said. "This seems like a real worthwhile project." 

Ten schools have signed on for this year's Eco-Carpentry Challenge. At the May 10 event in Boston, a panel of judges comprising industry professionals will review the final projects, choose the winners in certain categories, and present monetary awards.

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