Let’s start at the beginning. Before even being admitted into MSEL I was ready for Junior year. The thought of business plans and the engineering class were so exciting. Then, not knowing where the time had gone, we were there and everything seemed to be happening so quickly. We had started off the class with a small project as sort of an introduction to most of the tools by making wooden spoons. It was a relatively simple project as long as you followed the necessary instructions, the basic planning, then doing. Making and finishing the spoons took us close to a month and then, the real work began.

The juniors before us (the now seniors) made chicken coops as their big semester long project. Ours? Play houses. If you have been reading any of the other blogs, you should know what the play houses are by now. If not, here’s a recap. The class was divided into groups of three or four people. We were each told to come up with, design, then build a four foot by eight foot by at least six foot childrens playhouse. We then took two trips to Urban Ore and the Away Station, two salvage yards that generously donated some necessary materials for the playhouses.

My group began with me, Nick Slanec, and Cameron Taylor. Our vision was to do something that wasn’t “basic”. We then decided on making a hobbit house. Hobbit houses are a more rounded type of house, usually with a circular door and windows. Right off the bat, Ms. O told us it would be an extremely difficult shape to pull off and it would take lots of hard work and dedication. She urged us to reconsider, but we did not budge. We were confident and determined that we could do it.

Unfortunately, right before we began to build, our third member Cameron left MSEL to move onto a different path in life. This left Nick and I alone for about two weeks until Evann so graciously joined and became our missing piece. She was immediately onboard with Nick and I’s vision, so we filled her in on the details and got to work. Granted, it was extremely tedious and a bit annoying at times trying to figure out the shape of our play house, but we got it done. We all did.

I know I am speaking for everyone in the class when I say that we all wanted to give up at one point or another, but we were all glad we didn’t. We all learned to many valuable life lessons during the making of these playhouses and we owe most of that learning to our wonderful teacher, Allison Oropallo. She taught us to stick with dreams and never give up. She has been extremely supportive and flexible through all of our crazy antics over the year and we couldn’t thank her enough. Our class can be a handful at times and she stuck with us through the very end.

So, here we are, at the end. We may be moving on from the class itself but everything we have learned and all the memories we have made with each other throughout this experience, we will take with us.



  1. For some reason when you said we all wanted to give up, it really touched me. I think it’s because you’re right, at the beginning of the semester I saw our pathetic outline of a floor board and thought it was hopeless. Somehow we are here now. Anyway, great blog and tribute to Ms. O.

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