Although many dismiss engineering class as “non educational” or “lacking rigor”, the actuality is quite the opposite. Unlike traditional subjects such as math, science, or history, engineering class with Ms. Oropallo uniquely and undisputedly gives us physical skills which will directly benefit us in the terrifying land of “real world”. I remember first stepping foot into the engineering room, glancing with terror at the huge machines which could remove any of my limbs with ease. This fear was slowly overcome as we learned more about what each individual tool did and used them in different projects.

When the MSEL Engineering class started working on our chicken coops, I was worried that my assignment to a woefully substandard group would inhibit the success of our final product. Mistaken, I was. Not only did my group manage to design and frame our coop with record quality and time, we did so with minimal physical and verbal violence. When defining what the chicken coop project has meant to me, I can’t help but use the word “rewarding”. The amount of effort my group put into this project, if applied to any of our other school work, would necessitate acceptance letters from Stanford itself.

Entertaining as it may be, failure is not what defines my group’s work ethic.  Rather, it is our ability to problem solve, delegate tasks, and compromise. While, in its current state at least, my group’s coop, affectionately called “the one next to the really good coop”, lacks visually pleasing aesthetics, we are incessantly satisfied with our ability to overcome any challenge which comes our way.

Summer brought along its challenges, most notably heat and allergens. The sun’s light compounded with the high concentrations of pollen can make it extremely difficult to be productive some days. This ghastly combination, even more unfortunate than that known as my group, has challenged all of us to be focused and push through hardships. This skill is one that I simply could not have attained through any other class.

One of my favorite aspects of the chicken coop process was the use of the hammer tacker. For those who are inexperienced with this amazing tool, it is a hammer-like item which, on impact, extrudes heavy duty staples. I used this while securing the waterproof wrap upon the frame of the chicken coop. Not only does this marvel of humanity serve an important purpose in the assembly of our structure, it also has stress-relieving properties.

Moreover, I love the hands-on aspect of MSEL Engineering. After a long day filled with the memorization of states and capitals, the creation of synthesis essays, and the application of indefinite integrals onto trigonometric quadrinomials, Engineering class is a nice break for all of us. Sometimes hammering in a nail or drilling in a screw is all that it takes to brighten up my day.

Excellent teaching on the part of Ms. Oropallo is really what makes MSEL Engineering stand out. Without someone so motivated, dedicated, and invested, this class could easily mutate into another 10th grade English (you guys know what I mean) ((You are great Ms. Leonhart!!)). In conclusion, what makes our engineering class so special is the people, the skills, and the fun. I would not trade my sixth period for anything else and I sincerely enjoy everything we do. Throughout my life, wherever it may take me, I hope to use what I have learned this year and educate others on what true success means. Thanks Ms. Oropallo!

Nathan Roll


  1. Great job Nathan! The allergies do effect my ability to build sufficiently at times but we powered through it! I love your coop it’s so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. You guys did a great job.

  2. I 100% agree with you about engineering being educational. I’m probably going to foget most of the stuff we have learned in history, not because of the teacher(love ms. king) but because im not going to be using that information everyday. I will for sure use all the stuff we have learned in engineering a lot in the future(especially since i’m thinking of being a contractor).

  3. I love that this was a super hands on class too! I agree that when it started to get hot, the work became a lot harder and we found ourselves being a little slow. Still got the job done! Awesome job this year!

  4. This was wonderfully written Nathan! I can totally read this in your voice, especially with the way you argue. It gives a very comprehensive view of how engineering class has changed and evolved with us as we learned new aspects of building each day.

  5. Great Blog! Even though we don’t sit in a classroom and learn crazy math theories, we instead get to learn life skills and problem solving which is so important. Your chicken coop is looking great so far!

  6. Nathan! Wow you are such a great writer! I think we can all agree with you that engineering is the class that we look forward to the most. We have learned so many things that will help us throughout our lives thanks to Ms. O. I’m sorry you’ve had allergies that must not have been fun, but hopefully the worst is over now! Great blog!

  7. I agree this class is probably the most valuable class to me since it gives me skills that I could use in the future. Ms O is great and I love her teaching. I wish classes were more hands on too. Great blog can’t wait to see it at the end

  8. Your blog is so well written! I totally feel you with the heat and allergies. Its brutal. I thought it was funny that you said its the coop next to the really good coop but don’t worry i think you coop is fantastic!

  9. Nathan I love that you make a point of reminding your reader that failure doesn’t define you, problem solving does! It was a pleasure to read your blog, its so well written and honest! I agree, this class truly is incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  10. Nice blog Nathan! I feel the struggle of allergies in this class, but all the sneezing and coughing is worth it. This class is always the highlight of my day too, I’m glad it is for you too! Can’t wait to see the finished coop.

  11. Nathan! I love this post. It started out like the beginning of a well constructed argumentative essay, but then it became something more. Also, you are really funny and I appreciate that, very sassy. Ok that’s all I have to say, you’re chicken coop it fantastic.

  12. Nathan, I like how you give a lot of credit to Mrs. O, and I agree. Without her we would not know how to use the tools very well as we do now. I also agree when you said it gets hot out some days and it burns.

  13. Nice blog Nathan! I’m glad you and your group have been able to work on your coop with minimal physical and verbal violence (as that can get in the way of accomplishing goals). I think it’s also great that you hope to educate others about everything that Ms. I had taught you!

  14. NATHAN!! you really do love the hammer tacker, sometimes too much aha
    Our coop is looking SO good, apart from the red chickens. I cant wait to continue working with our amazing group and I’ll be sad when summer comes and we have to leave this class forever 🙁 I’m waiting for my letter from Stanford

  15. Nathan, I thought that your blog was awesome! I think that you really communicated your impression of the class and nailed our group dynamic. Like you did not screw up! I agree that when the first hot week came we were an allergic disaster, but we have since overcome the heat to become the best that we can be! YAY our Group!!!

  16. Good job Nathan. I totally agree that this class gives us physical skills and teaches us a lot. I like how you talked about failure and turning it into something different. I’m excited to see your coop when it is done.

  17. Nathan I loved your blog. It made me laugh when you added in the comment about english last year, I am so glad it’s not like that this year. I agree with you that Ms.O is definitely teaching us skills that we can learn in the future. I can’t wait to see your coop when it’s done, it’s looking great so far!

  18. Great blog Nathan, you’re a fantastic writer! I can relate to loving the hands-on aspect of the class and using the hammer tacker. Although I can’t relate to having allergies, I can relate the the heat because trying to hammer a bunch of siding on while its super hot is so difficult.

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