By Judy Bass
When longtime Holbrook resident Richard Stagnone decided he wanted to have a spacious new garage built next to his home on Sprague Avenue, he knew exactly where to go – his high school alma mater, Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton.
A cornerstone of the technical education that the students receive there is practical, hands-on experience that reinforces lessons taught in the classroom. After the students nail down the fundamentals of their career path, they use them in real-world situations.
For example, Culinary Arts students staff a restaurant in the Blue Hills Regional building that serves lunch to the public on weekdays during the school year. Students in Early Education & Care learn how to take care of youngsters by actually doing so in the preschool housed at Blue Hills. Students in the school’s two Automotive programs - Automotive Technology and Auto Collison Repair & Refinishing – work on vehicles belonging to Blue Hills district residents in accordance with topics in their curriculum.
Construction and Electrical students have the opportunity to do projects submitted by residents who have owned property for at least five years in one of the Blue Hills school district’s nine towns, which include Avon, Braintree, Canton, Dedham, Holbrook, Milton, Norwood, Randolph and Westwood. People living in those communities are invited to apply to have Blue Hills students do residential additions, alterations and repairs. Projects are chosen based on their educational value for the students. Details of the application process can be found at www.bluehills.org on the home page or by calling the Vocational Director’s office at 781-828-5800 x230.
Mr. Stagnone said, “I needed a garage. I had projects I wanted to do and no place to do them.”
Enter the Blue Hills students from Construction and Electrical. Under the supervision of their teachers, Mr. Ron Eby and Mr. William Groh, respectively, the students built a handsome 24 foot by 24 foot garage. According to Mr. Eby, “One interesting aspect of this project from a carpentry standpoint was the use of fiber cement trim and siding. We installed it as a pre-finished product so the garage will not need to be painted on the exterior. The product is made to look just like wood trim and clapboard siding and is backed by a 30-year warranty.”
During the construction process, Mr. Eby explained, the students learned wall framing, floor system framing using Micro-lam girders and I-joists, roof framing, how to install asphalt roof shingles and exterior trim using Hardie trim (a fiber cement product), installation of exterior wall siding using Hardie-plank siding (a pre-painted fiber cement product), stair framing, drywall installation and joint taping and doing basic interior trim.
The Electrical students who worked on the project also were able to utilize their training to the fullest. Mr. Groh said that they did electrical design and layout, listing and ordering materials, installing a 200 amp underground service lateral and load center, electrical grounding and bonding, wiring methods of PVC conduit, Romex cable and SER cable, device outlets and switches and finish plate installation, luminaire installation, ground fault circuit protection and they applied the Massachusetts Electrical Code requirements to the installation.
The Electrical students who participated from the Class of 2017 were Eamon Connolly, Jonathan Davis, Michael Figuereo, Christopher Gil, Len Kelley, Eric LaFerriere, Nick Mahon, John Morahan, Michael Nosky, Patrick Toscano and Dylan Vazquez Members of the Class of 2018 who were involved were William Berrio, Nicholas Blaney, Patrick Bonanno, Nicholas Carnes, Jason Fratus, Christopher Hicks, Tess Lyons, Joseph Manning, Adam Nehily, Paul Rampino and Anthony Sarno.
The Construction students from the Class of 2017 who took part were Nicholas Burton, Tylor Craffey, Jong Kgu Lee, Merignac Lubin, Kyle Masone, Ian O’Brien, Shawn Pereira and Matthew Zaniboni. Students from the Class of 2018 who worked on the project were Anne Berman, Matthew Bulger, Colleen Costello, Cooper DeAngelis, Mia Dixon, Cameron Doherty, Zachary French, Ancy Jean Baptiste, Daniel Pellegrino, Carlos Rodriguez, Milton Ward, Zahria Woodruffe and Adrian Wright.
Mr. Stagnone, the homeowner, is extremely pleased with the way his new garage turned out. “It came out terrific. The students couldn’t have done better. I would recommend it to anybody.”