MarinSEL EngineeringIs it possible to hush a class of kids who all know each-other? “No matter how randomly I group you up, you all chat because you’re one giant family,” said Allison Oropallo herself, the very woman who is single-handedly capable of keeping the MarinSEL junior class entertained, educated, and on task. For the past three weeks, Ms. Oropallo has kept us interested by demonstrating the proper use of each tool, and giving us time to practice. Most of us in the class agree that drilling, hammering, and sawing wood are phenomenal stress relievers, and genuinely feel empowering.

As our comfort level with these tools grows, we are beginning our first engaging project of the year: the Spoon Project. While free-hand and measured drawing have never proven to be too diffcult, they have become a class-shared struggle as we each attempt to create two individual spoon designs, one of which will be made out of the notoriously heavy European Beachwood. Looking ahead, our MarinSEL Engineering class will collaboratively design and build six unique chicken coops in groups. Having heard only great things about this project, we are all excited to commence and enter the handsy world of tools, sawdust and creation.

On Thursday, September 11th, Juliana Birnbaum spoke publicly in Bolinas about her theories, ideas, and research. Never heard of her? Neither had we, until we adopted “Sustainable Revolution; Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide” as our class textbook –“textbook,” because it will be our main literary focus for this year–.  Juliana Birnbaum wrote this book with the intention of influencing young readers minds to redesign our thought processes into those with environmental defaults. As we indulge into this factual novel, we will be learning new, creative ways to build our way to sustainability, and perform healthier every-day tasks.

With an abnormally higher-than-usual girl to boy ratio, we have high hopes for this class. Thank you, Ms. Oropallo, for providing us with the beautifully unlimited opportunity of learning to be self-reliant, comfortable,  and handy.


Written by: Angelique Avanozian and Monica Zeidan


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