Volunteers Build Desks

August 03, 2020

As schools around the country are faced with creating and “constructing” physically-distanced classrooms, our lower school faculty did just that – literally.

“We built 104 desks by hand that are portable, interchangeable, affordable, and met the CDC and DOE (Hawai’i Department of Education) guidelines,” says Ms. Christian, Parker School’s first-grade teacher. The idea arose over the summer as Parker explored ways to keep students and teachers physically separated to follow federal and state guidelines to help slow transmission of the coronavirus. 

Over the course of a week, lower school teachers and several volunteers spent hours buying, cutting, sanding, building, and staining each of the 104 desks, which works out to nearly one desk per lower school student.  Parent volunteers included Steve Freeney, Brian Koranda, Erik Mitchell, John Polhemus, Ben Bergin, and Parker alum, Braedon Ingalls ‘19.

“The new desks provide a large enough workspace for students to have an iPad, water bottle, and anything else we are working on,” says Ms. Christian.  Additionally, each student has a supply and to-go crate which fits perfectly next to them under the desk.  “These crates eliminate the need for shared supplies, provides a physical barrier to help keep students apart, and is what they take home should we need to swiftly switch to remote learning,” says Ms. Christian.

“With so much of our new normal forcing us to be physically distant, the fact that every lower school student is learning on a desk compassionately handmade by their teachers and volunteers from our school ‘ohana is a physical reminder that we are still very much connected,” says Lower School Head Heather Polhemus.

Mahalo to Parker’s lower school teachers for their time and dedication, as well as truly embodying our school’s cornerstone values of excellence, integrity, and compassion.