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This gazebo was a work of love for students studying carpentry.

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The Essex Technical High School’s program in carpentry has completed the gazebo in Juniper Point Playground, off Beach Avenue behind the Willows.

“This park was reconstructed 25 years ago by the city of Salem, and when they did, they put parking spaces there, grass, the gazebo(with sides), new structures,” said James Picone, a member of the Essex Tech School Committee and a Juniper Point resident. “The Salem city Salem did a great job of rehabilitating this park including the gazebo that was a part of the reconstruction. However, with the passage of time and neglected maintenance, this happens.”

At the close of September, the carpentry program began work towards securing it to the earth were not working or were damaged. The cedar roofing made the roof’s structure degrading and, in some cases, were missing entirely, as per instructor Roy Silva. As students worked on their skills and other activities, the city supplied the material.

Today every shingle has been taken down by students. Two failed beams were also repaired, and the students were rewarded with a bounty in pizzas and Pepsi when they finished the work early the following day.

Henry Worth, a 16-year-old junior related with Juniper Point Ward Councilor Bob McCarthy, is an apartment overlooking the park.

“My entire life has been here. I’m sure my parents’ lives too. It’s fun working right near your house,” Worth said. “We actually never did this kind of roofing stuff before, and it’s a good learning experience.”

According to Silva, the school is a great learning experience due to the surroundings. In contrast to the classrooms at Essex Tech, Juniper Point is entirely outdoors, which means that students had to contend with the unpredictable weather conditions to complete the task.

“It was harder in the cold and stuff,” Worth declared, “but beside that, it was fun.”

As sixteen-year-old Salem local Maria “Bear” Parnassa, students could use the project to tackle specific anxieties. This included climbing the ladder to fix the shingles and installing flashing. She helped to wrap up Thursday’s work also.

“It’s a pretty big step for me, also helped me get over the fear of heights — at least just a little bit,” she explained. “Carpentry is currently my backup plan for a career, so this is definitely helping me get experience and helping me get hired if my first path (screenwriting) doesn’t come out as planned.”

This impressed this project for Silva, one of two teachers who collaborated with students to complete the task for about 30-minute visits.

“These kinds of jobs, it gives them a perspective of what they want to do in their careers,” Silva explained. It could be an architect, a teacher, or even an inspector of buildings. “They must be hands-on. It’s an amazing experience. I’ve told them that, although you might not intend to be an entrepreneur or work in the field, you could be able to own a house one day.”

McCarthy is an experienced general contractor living right across to the highway from where the park is, has backed by the high quality of his work.

“I offer all credit for the work of Jim Picone, one of the neighbors in the area. … They were searching for projects that could be done, and McCarthy came across that one,” McCarthy said. “It came out great, and it’s a good way to get the kids involved with some practical experience while, at the same time, allowing the city to get something done.”


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