Carondelet High School’s tiny house ready for migrant workers

While some high school students may be working on graduation speeches that will talk about building a future for themselves, a class of girls from Carondelet High School in Concord has already built a future for someone. other.

The Engineering for Social Good class at Catholic Girls’ High School spent their school year researching, designing and building a tiny house that was donated Thursday to an organization that helps migrant workers in the area. The tiny house, dedicated in a school ceremony, is destined for Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood to become the home of a family of farm workers.

Marivel Mendoza, from Hijas del Campo, said the group had already chosen a family – one of the 300 they help support. She congratulated the students and the school, saying their commitment to the project will benefit dedicated, resilient and hard-working people who live with food and housing insecurities.

“You are changing lives,” Mendoza told students and teachers.

Carondelet High School students Veronica Foster, 17, left, and Ellie Scheberies, 17, join members of Concord Catholic School‘s engineering team at a groundbreaking event centered on a small house that the students built and donated to a migrant family. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

The idea to build a tiny house — 20 feet by 8 feet by 11 feet — came from class instructor Chris Walsh, who is also director of the school’s Jean Hofmann Center for Innovation.

Walsh, who was being helped by math teacher Kristina Levesque, said he wasn’t sure how the idea would be accepted, and even had doubts.

“I thought it was too crazy, too difficult, too expensive,” Walsh told the small crowd that had gathered for the ribbon cutting. “But everyone got into it in the true Carondelet spirit.”

Walsh said the high school probably wasn’t the first to build a tiny house, but it could be the first all-girls high school to build one and build it out of steel instead of wood, which has earned the 30-member team the nickname. , “Women of Steel”.

Ava Ribando, a high school senior, said she was proud to have been part of a project based on Catholic principles of charity, and that it gave her an experience she didn’t expect to get anywhere else.

More than the accomplishment of building the house, doing everything from bolting the frame to installing the floors, windows, plumbing and wiring, working on the house has created lasting memories and bonds, has said Ribando.

CONCORD, CA - MAY 12: Carondelet students Feyi Olatunji, 15, left, and Allison Bowes, 15, tour inside a small house after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Carondelet High School in Concord, California , Thursday, May 12, 2022. Engineering students at Carondelet High School spent a year planning and building a Tiny House that would be donated to a migrant farm worker.  (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Carondelet students Feyi Olatunji, 15, left, and Allison Bowes, 15, tour inside a Tiny House that a team of engineering students from the Catholic Girls’ School built for a family immigrants from the region. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Carondelet manager Kevin Cushing told the girls they had something to be proud of.

“You didn’t create a building,” Cushing said. “You have created a conduit for hope and a place of safety. You have created an opportunity for dignity.

The team still have a few things to do on the house before it is taken to Brentwood, fully furnished with appliances, ready to move in. Mendoza said her organization was thrilled with her first home and said she hoped it would eventually lead to a small village.

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