Abington Student Sends Blocks to Africa

John O'Riordan, an Abington High School senior and Eastern construction technology student, will help a needy primary school.


Abington High School Senior and Eastern Center for Arts and Technology construction technology student John O’Riordan is shipping his senior project overseas — he’s sending it to Africa.

O’Riordan has chosen to make building blocks for Katamoy Primary School in Kenya. 

Earlier this year, O’Riordan asked Mary Rodgers, Abington High School’s Service Learning Facilitator, for some senior project suggestions. Knowing that O’Riordan is in his second year of construction technology at Eastern, Rodgers suggested the building block project using scrap lumber from Eastern’s programs. 

Last summer, Rodgers accompanied a group of students and parents from Abington High School on a community service trip to the Rift Valley in Kenya. The communities in this area are very poor and the primary schools do not have any educational toys. The building blocks idea came to Rodgers, who thought it would provide a creative outlet for students. At the time of her visit, the only toy available was a ball made of paper bags and tape.

O’Riordan, with the support of his construction technology instructor, Jeff Pakula, has recruited his Eastern classmates to assist in his efforts. Rodgers provided O’Riordan with the template, so the building blocks will be in the shape of columns, triangles, squares and rectangles. Rodgers will be bringing the blocks back to the school in Kenya this summer.

“This is a great and useful way to recycle the scrap wood for creative and educational purposes,” O’Riordan said. “I am proud to be a part of this project and I appreciate all of the support I have received from Eastern and Abington High School.”

Eastern’s construction technology program is the first step for students interested in pursuing a career in carpentry. Career objectives include carpenter pre-apprentice, exterior remodeling and installation, and roofing and siding helper. 


Information courtesy of Amy Shields/Eastern Center for Arts and Technology

Betsy Zimmermann November 28, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Sounds like a worthy project. Be sure to follow up with a story about Mrs. Rodgers visit back to Rift Valley.
Carla Greene December 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
We are Overlook Proud of you John. Mrs. Carla Greene Principal Overlook Elementary School


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