Whittier Tech Students Demonstrate Ability to Collaborate with Bench Chair Project

Students sit and stand with a bench chair they built collaboratively among trades at Whittier Tech. From left, in back, are Adam Segan, Jason Foster and Sean O’Connell. From left, front, are LeeAnn Alvarez and Madison Gosse. (Courtesy photograph.)

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School students built a bench chair that won praise and was raffled off at the Massachusetts Career Technical Education Annual Conference earlier this month.

The bench chair, built collaboratively by students in the Metal Fabrication, Auto Body and Carpentry programs worked, received an overwhelming majority of votes for Best Project and Most Creative Project at the April 1 conference at the Renaissance Boston Patriot Place Hotel.

Superintendent Maureen Lynch said the bench chair consists of two Adirondack-style chairs with a copper water feature and a flower box built into the middle of the two chairs.

Students in the metal fabrication shop started by cutting and prepping all the pieces needed to assemble the chair. The skeleton of the bench was constructed and tacked together by Jason Foster, senior, and Adam Segan, junior, both of Haverhill. The seams and joints were then welded solid by juniors Madison Gosse, of Georgetown, and LeeAnn Alvarez, of Haverhill, while the galvanized sheet metal was bent into corrugated pieces by junior Sean O’Connell, of Groveland.

Auto Body students painted the frame of the bench chair while Gosse and Alvarez pressed and soldered the copper dish and fountain piece together, which all sit in the top portion of the two-tiered center feature.

“I was excited to work on this project every day, succeeding in building/welding the bench as well as grinding all the parts,” said Alvarez. “I enjoyed the teamwork aspect of this project and, although there was a lot of small details that took a lot of work, I am pleased with how the bench turned out and I hope whoever wins the bench enjoys it!”

Once students received the bench back from Auto Body, Carpentry students brought over the wooden slats that make up the chair and armrest pieces, where metal fab students then bolted them into place.

“This project was both fun and a good challenge,” said Gosse. “It required us to pay close attention to detail as there were a lot of pieces that went into making this project, and a lot of pieces that had to fit together perfectly in order for this piece to come together. I liked working together with my fellow peers and I’m proud of all my teammates for the effort they put into this project!”

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