Habitat for Humanity partners with JTHS

Hannah Tadey, staff writer

It’s days before spring break, who wants to go to school, work, or for that matter, do anything?  Well, eight dedicated students here at Joliet West spent their Saturday before spring break renovating a building to transform it into a ReStore outlet. 

There are over 700 ReStore outlets in the country thanks to the help of Habitat for Humanity.  If you’re in need of gently used furniture, construction materials, appliances or any other household item, ReStore has you covered! 

That Saturday, the student volunteers took down ceiling tiles and metal grids, power-washed walls and floors and took down shelf structures, preparing the building for a new use. 

Missy Stapleton, academy coordinator of the Engineering & Industrial Tech Academy at the high school, supervised the Joliet West crew.

“These kids will drive by here one day and know they did something for their community,” said Stapleton.

Once the new ReStore outlet is finished, the members of the work crew plan to have customers enter the back of the building (for this is where the parking lot is).  They will then walk forward past the check-out area towards the retail center.  Once there, customers can go through the doors to enter the furniture showcase area.  On the opposite side of the building will be a donation center.  And in the corner will be a room designated for cleaning the donated items, along with appropriately pricing the items.

Participating teachers were Justin Moscato, an automotive instructor who also teaches introduction to technology; John Barber, who teaches electricity, introduction to technology and A+ certification for computers; Lauren von Holst, a junior English teacher; and Mary Rizk, a sophomore English teacher.

Participating students were senior Shawn Adkins and junior Aaron Pawchak, who took down tiles and metal frame, and the power-washing crew of senior Curtis Casolaro, juniors Evan Claffy, Mike Frausto and Jimmy Hornichak, and sophomores Tyler Staats and Christian Rodriguez.

Stapleton said that the character component is necessary in education, along with academics and skills.  Students should learn the value of being involved in something larger than themselves.  “A student can have the academic knowledge and skills, but without character, none of that matters,” Stapleton said.