D|Fab Architecture Students Help Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark

(Secaucus, NJ––November 21, 2021) Twenty architecture majors in High Tech’s Academy for Design & Fabrication (D|Fab) spent a day helping to build a home with volunteers from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark on November 16, announced Ms. Kathy Young, Principal of High Tech High School.

The students––Nicholas Bartletta, Brianna Bellamy, Amirah Calamito, Samuel Calmas, Anny Castro, Rachel Chowanec, Daniella Cisneros, Fatima Fardos, Liz Garcia, Zion Hinckson-Dos Santos, Aimee Lobato, Jeremy Madray, Lilly Marsh, Jake Mulrenan, Naomia Regan, Christopher Rivera, Daniel Tobar, Francesca Umali, Amira Walcott, and Aidan Ward––began their day on the construction site with a safety meeting before getting to work alongside professional construction workers and trained volunteers from Habitat for Humanity. The students were assigned to a variety of on-site projects, including painting, exterior gate installation, lawn drainage, and floor sanding.

As architecture majors, the students are familiar with theories of architecture they study in the classroom. This experience, however, took them onto the worksite to see how theory functions in a real-world setting. One student, Jeremy Madray, had this to say: “I learned a lot more about the practical side of construction after learning about the more conceptual aspects of Architecture from Mrs. Medina’s Architecture classes. It was fun to apply all of the knowledge we learned throughout the classes in an actionable way to help out a community.”

In addition to practical experience, this specific project gave emotional context to the field, as the home being built will be occupied by a single mother and her two children. HTHS Architecture instructor Mrs. Vanessa Batista-Medina added, “It was very heartwarming to see motivated students learning through community service and directly connecting design theory to practical and authentic learning experiences. These moments of episodic learning will stay with them for a lifetime and could potentially drive so much of their career choices moving forward. It was equal parts humbling, rewarding, and fun.”

The trip was also attended by D|Fab supervisor, and former architecture instructor, Gregory Simon and D|Fab wood technology teacher Zach Bolich. The event was coordinated with Alana Davis, Deputy Director of Fund Development & Corporate Engagement at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark, which serves Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark was established in 1986 as” a faith-based ministry dedicated to building simple, decent homes for low and moderate-income families.” You can learn more, or volunteer your own time, by visiting https://www.habitatnewark.org/about-us/.

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