MONTVILLE, NJ – Two Montville Township High School students got a satisfaction not always felt from a class assignment when the bunk bed project they created in their wood shop classroom was presented to a family in Dover to be used in their new home.
Friends and senior class members Emili Dimoski and Ashley Westergaard had been wood class students since their freshman year, the pair recently told TAPinto Montville, and during their junior year, applied arts teacher Don Morgenroth told the class they had to make a wood project that continued through the year.
The pair decided to make a bunk bed set, based on Morgenroth’s recommendation, which would be used in an apartment by a family found through the charity organization Family Promise of Morris County.
“I had found Family Promise a few years back, through some recommendations from friends,” Morgenroth said. “I wanted to form a partnership with an organization where the kids in the shop can give back to the community. After talking to someone at Family Promise, the bunk bed idea came about. The organization places families in apartments, and a bunk bed seemed like a good fit because apartments are small and sometimes there are several kids in the families.”
Some of Morgenroth’s students made a bunk bed a few years back for the organization, so this was the second time beds were made for the charity by MTHS.
The pair got to work designing the bed and took the school year collaborating on the build.
“We found the plans online and adjusted it to the size of the mattresses,” Westergaard said. “It’s built of pine. First we made the posts, and then the rails.”
Building the bed was not always easy, though, since the two were not in the same class session. But the two used their knowledge of the band, chop and table saws to make rabbit and dado cuts for the project. The pair stained the bed and gave it three coats of finish.
The bed can be unscrewed so it can be moved, except the three-step staircase to the upper bed, which opens for storage, Westergaard said. The fact that it’s portable came in handy when the pair and Morgenroth delivered the bed in September 2019 to a single mother with a son and daughter under seven, Westergaard said.
“It felt good, and the kids were so happy,” Westergaard said. “I was excited that something we made went to good use.”
“I was very proud of the girls and the effort they put into building the beds as well as setting them up for the family,” Morgenroth said. “Seeing the little girl and boy’s faces light up when we had the beds all set up was priceless.”
“It was cool to have the opportunity to meet the people who would use it,” Dimoski said. “We got to see the kids jumping on it,” she said with a laugh.
Dimoski said she has done some woodworking at home, as well, building herself a custom bookcase and refinishing a bench for her mom. When asked why she originally had taken wood class, Dimoski said that when the students toured the high school in eighth grade, the tour guide had taken the group into the woods class where Morgenroth had showcased projects in which students had cut logo signs out of wood using band saws.
“They were works of art,” Dimoski marveled. “It was so cool, and I thought, ‘Why not try that?’, and I loved it.”
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