Cambridge high school students create a comforting space during pandemic
Earlier this year, the old bleachers inside the gymnasium at Glenview Park Secondary School were being replaced.
Instead of throwing the wood into the garbage bin, the school’s construction technology teacher thought it would be great material for students to use.
“It is great lumber. It is very valuable. I’d hate to see it go to a landfill,” said Joe Vanderkolk. “I knew this wood had a future.”
Other staff members at the school said they approached Vanderkolk with an idea: to use the wood for a special student project to enhance Glenview Park’s wellness room.
“So we thought what a great way to have them give back to the community. Have them feel like they belong,” said Michelle Pauze, a wellness and science teacher at Glenview Park Secondary School. “And have our own students benefit from it.”
Students in Vanderkolk’s class said they pitched in right away and were involved in carrying the bleachers into the school’s construction shop.
“Pressing the wood, like taking off all the wax and the gum, and like cutting down to the right thickness,” recalled Grade 11 student John Van Wyngarrden. “All those things. It was from start to finish.”
“It really made me happy to be able to work with my hands and create something to do something that could help people to make them feel like they're at home,” added Leila Wehbe, a Grade 12 student at the school.
The school provided photos of the newly renovated wellness room that looks warm, woodsy, and comfortable.
“In a word, it’s awesome,” noted Beverly Wood, principal at Glenview Park Secondary School. “The whirlwind of the world slows down for a bit in that space.”
“I’m so amazed and proud and supportive the work our staff has done, and that our students have done.”