June 4, 2019

The Hogwarts Express seems to race out of a tunnel as part of the bed. A bookcase painted with suitcases and a desk with wizardry whimsy stand by, ready to ignite imagination. This Harry Potter-themed bedroom unit was created by students at Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, amazingly out of a pile of junk.

Shawsheen Tech won the People’s Choice Award May 2 during the Furniture Trust’s Eco-Carpentry Challenge. The Furniture Trust provided each school\ with a suite of used office furniture and excess building materials, otherwise bound for the landfill.

“The students came up with a plan, discussed it with their instructors, and modified the plan as they worked to meet design and safety needs,” said Andrew Pigeon, director of community services and post-secondary programs at Shawsheen Tech. “The group collaboratively transformed the suite of used office furniture into an amazing piece of art and furniture!”

Students from the carpentry, metal fabrication, auto body, business technology and marketing, graphic communication, and design and visual communications collaborated to develop the theme and create the different components of the bedroom set, all of which had to fit in a small exhibition space.

At first glance, the pile of used office furniture and other used building materials that had to be used as part of the challenge seemed a bit daunting.

“I thought, ‘what are we going to do with everything, this doesn’t make sense. We got a big pile of stuff,”’ said James DeFeo, a 10th-grade carpentry student.

The students brainstormed and then developed a plan, each shop taking on different tasks.

“I made a cutout for the desk we’re putting in and other little knickknacks that go around the project and give it character,” said Connor Maguire, 10th grade carpentry student.

The end result : trash turned to treasure.

“We were thrilled to have Shawsheen join the Eco-Carpentry Challenge this year. Their entry of the Harry Potter-themed bedroom was both imaginative and thought out. As our People’s Choice Award winner, the attendees really felt the same,” said Dana DeVeau, Furniture Trust executive director.

“I think it’s interesting to see how all the shops came together to build the project that we made. I think they are really going to like it because all the shops did a really good job with it,” said Nathan Dahoquist, 10th grade, carpentry.

The Furniture Trust Hosts
9th Annual Eco-Carpentry Challenge

The Furniture Trust, a nonprofit committed to responsible reuse of unwanted office furniture, held its annual event, the Eco-Carpentry Challenge, designed to promote the circular economy and up-cycling while providing students with professional skills critical to their future. Used office furniture donated by local businesses was delivered to ten high schools where students had their spring semester to use teamwork, imagination, and carpentry skills to transform these materials into new products, later donated back into the community. 

 

At the Challenge, held May 2nd at District Hall in Boston, students networked with industry professionals and peer schools, as they showcased their up-cycled innovations to a panel of judges. A video featuring this year’s contenders and projects can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/U8by0p3j7F4

 

“My favorite part is definitely who we’re helping,” said Jimmy Casey, a senior at Hopedale High School. “Just being able to help anyone is awesome, and that’s what I really love about the Challenge: taking used things, making them better, repurposing things, just helping someone in the community.” Jimmy and his team created a mock room for Hopedale’s special education department to help teach them life skills, including folding and hanging up clothes, making a bed, and maintaining a room. 

 

The ten participating schools of the 2019 Eco-Carpentry Challenge include students from: Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational High School (Upton), East Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School, Essex Technical High School (Danvers), Hopedale High School, Madison Park Technical Vocational High School (Boston), Nashoba Valley Technical High School (Westford), Next Wave and Full Circle Alternative School (Somerville), Northbridge High School (Whitinsville), Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School (Billerica), and Worcester Alternative School

 

The Furniture Trust assigned each team a mentor from the architecture, construction, project management, facilities, and furniture industries to provide guidance and technical expertise throughout the design and construction of their projects: Corinne Maleski, AHP Architects; Chelsea Snow, AIS; Tom Murphy, Amundi Pioneer; Shirley Ng, Brown University; Alicia Kosasih, Vannepha Luangaphay, Tim Nistler, Emily Ottinger, and Maria Stoyanova, CBT Architects; Jared Crowley and Neal Swain, Columbia Construction; Alex Sanda, COP; Alexandra Dupnik, Dyer Brown; Jackie Falla, Elaine Construction; Joe DeVeau, Furniture Consultants, Inc.; Christina Arlin, Walter Kucharski, and Brendan McCue, Fort Point PM; John Greene, Margulies Perruzzi; Brian Duffley and Katrina Eliadis, Nelson; Brian Leahy and John Miller, OfficeWorks; Kevin Compher, Payette Achitects; Michael MacLean, Peabody Office; Ryan Eisenhauer and Joseph DiClemente, Structure Tone; Nicole Solera and Elizabeth Spatola, Unispace; Hannah Ginley, Valerie Lausier, Laura Player, and Amr Raafat, Windover Construction; and Bill Olson, Wise Construction.

 

Katrina Eliadis of Nelson served as a mentor for the Worcester team and had valuable advice for the students: “Be true to yourself and your team. Creativity comes in many forms and it's easy to get side tracked, but always follow through with your team and your responsibilities, and make sure everyone is working toward the same goal.”

 

After thoughtful deliberation, the panel of judges comprised of industry professionals – Sean Anderson, Vice President, Mass Mutual Financial Group; Stephen Bertolami, Senior Vice President, Liberty Mutual Insurance; Laura Keenan, Corporate Sustainability Officer, VP, Communications and Change Management, Fidelity Real Estate Company; Chris Plante, Manager, Mark Richey Woodworking; and 

Sarah Turner, President, North Bennet Street School – announced the 2019 Eco-Carpentry Challenge winners:

  • Runner Up: Madison Park Technical Vocational High School – $1,000 prize

  • 1st Place, Small Shop: Northbridge High School – $2,000 prize

  • 1st Place, Large Shop: Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational High School – $2,000 prize

  • People’s Choice: Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School

 

“I’m blown away by the generous sponsors, furniture donors, and especially these students who have created something they’re so proud to give back to the community,” said Christine Mosholder, Founder of the Furniture Trust, “Reinvesting excess office furnishings back into the community has a proven multiplier effect, the positive impact of which can be seen in our youth, community, and across our sustainable network.”

 

This year’s event, emceed by WROR’s Hank Morse, featured presentations by: Rosalin Acosta, Massachusetts State Secretary of the Executive Office of Workforce and Labor Development, spoke about the state of the economy and what these high school students face upon graduation; Hattie Arsenault-Larosa, Program Manager with Liberty Mutual Insurance’s Real Estate Group detailed her experience hiring The Furniture Trust and what an impact it has made on her firm and personal life; and Tom Belland, Director of Vocational Technical Education at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational High School discussed the positive effect donated furniture had on his school’s students and faculty.

 

Sponsors of the 2019 Eco-Carpentry Challenge include:

  • Gold sponsors: Creative Office Pavilion, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Fort Point Project Management, and Pinnacle Office Solutions

  • Silver sponsors: ABC Moving Services, Columbia Construction Company, Commodore Builders, Dyer Brown, Environments at Work, Fidelity Investments, Elaine Construction, Margulies Perruzzi, Office Resources, Red Thread, Structure Tone, and Unispace

  • Bronze sponsors: American Contractors, American Delivery, Boston Art, Colonial Systems, Turner Construction, Studio Troika, and Visnick & Caulfield

  • Green Circle Sponsors: AHP, AIS, Amundi Pioneer, B-Graphic, Biogen, Brown University, CBT Architects, Cubicle Solutions Inc., Furniture Consultants Inc., Gensler, Momentum Group, Nelson, Office Works, Payette, Peabody Office, R.W. Sullivan Engineering, William B. Meyer, Windover Construction, Wilson & Gould, and Wise Construction 

 

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About The Furniture Trust 

The Furniture Trust is a nonprofit organization driven to make a difference by rethinking used office furniture and reinvesting it in the community. The Trust provides companies with a proven process for decommissioning that maximizes the value of unwanted office furniture and reduces landfill waste by connecting excess furniture with local schools and nonprofits. Since their founding in 2008, The Trust has connected more than $11 million worth of office furniture to over 931 organizations. For more information, please visit: http://thefurnituretrust.org/

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The Furniture Trust  |  308 Congress Street  |  4th Floor  |  Boston, MA 02210

phone: (844) 843-8787  |  to contact our team, click here