A year-long partnership and project was celebrated on May 23, 2019 at St. Mary’s College (SMC), with a beautifully crafted cabin as the focal point of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The cabin, measuring close to 1000 square feet, will be transported and utilized by Ontario Parks at Pancake Bay Provincial Park. The structure was built over the period of one school year by gifted students in the St. Mary’s College Specialist High Skills Major Construction Program, along with the SMC Cabin Building Club and students in various construction classes. Most impressive was the number of committed students who were so enthusiastic to work on the project that they volunteered their time during off-school hours and March break. .
“I am so proud of the diligence and commitment of our students. They worked responsibly and were eager to put in time after school hours to see their work become a reality,” said construction teacher and project lead, Eugene Pagliaro.
“They were very willing and very capable of learning about the entire process and mastered skills that they can use in the future,” added Pagliaro.
The project originated near the end of the 2018 school year between SMC construction teacher Craig Pierman, the board’s Experiential Learning Lead Adriano Carota, and Ontario Parks local representatives Kendra Gibson and Jace Dominey. A partnership and agreement was created and the work began in September of 2018 thanks for the commitment of so many staff and students, and funding provided by the Specialist High Skills Major Construction Program, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Ontario Parks.
“Ontario Parks has entered into similar partnerships with post-secondary institutions elsewhere in the province with positive outcomes; this is the first partnership with a secondary school and we are very pleased with the results. We hope to be able to explore more opportunities in the future,” said Gibson.
“There are so many of us in this room who would not even know where to start to build a project of this magnitude. We cannot say enough how proud we are of you, our SMC students, because without your God given talents, gifted hands and attention to detail, this project could never have taken place,” said Superintendent of Education, Danny Viotto.
Among the special guests for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were students who participated in the project along with their very supportive family members who looked on with such pride. Speakers were effusive in their praise for their work and dedication.
“I am so impressed with how the students approached this project. They took on a complex task and saw it to its final stages and will be visiting Pancake Bay in a few weeks to see the cabin land in its new environment and be proud to see how it will be enjoyed by so many families in years to come,” said St. Mary’s College Principal, Colleen Hannah.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were former St. Mary’s College graduate, MPP Ross Romano, and city councilor Marchy Bruni. Both commended the students on their efforts and noted that a project of this nature provided them with the skills that they can use their entire lives whether they enter the skilled trades or chose to pursue other career pathways.
In addition, gratitude was extended to various contributing partners including: Soo Mill Buildall, Phase 4 Electric, AES Services and Rudy Pagliaro, who acted as an additional mentor to the students.
St. Mary’s College is the first secondary school in the province to partner with Ontario Parks on a project of this caliber. The cabin is scheduled to be transported to Pancake Bay Provincial Park on June 6.