NEWPORT -- In 1967, North Country Union High School opened its doors to the community and since then many things have changed.
One thing that didn't change were the large tables in the Visual Arts drawing and painting room. Although the room itself was re-located several times through the years, the tables dutifully followed wherever the class went, getting more and more decrepit. It is estimated that over 18,000 people have sat at these tables learning how to think creatively and express themselves through Visual Art. As a result of the wear and tear of over 40 years of use, the tables had holes that went through the entire table top surface, generations of vandalism and carvings that prevented students from using the tables as smooth drawing surfaces, edging that was jagged or missing, and stray brad nails that frequently caught on clothing, ripped pants, and on some occasions in Natalie Guillette's classes, caused injury to unsuspecting students. When Guillette decided they needed a facelift, one of her intro to 2-D students, Derrick Carruthers, was there to help!
Derrick Carruthers, now a junior at NCUHS, was in the process of earning the high honor of the Eagle Scout. A part of the many things Derrick had to do to meet the Eagle Scout requirements was giving his time, knowledge, resources and effort to help his community.
Because NCUHS services an average of 900 students a year, Derrick decided that giving back to his school would be a perfect opportunity to complete the community service piece to his Eagle Scout Badge. After he met with Guillette, they decided that completely re-building the old tables was not necessary. By simply tightening bolts, re-laminating their surface, and replacing the edging, the tables would be perfect for classroom learning again.
By the spring of 2012, Derrick had already met with contractors at E.M. Brown and had worked directly with Art LaPlante (who volunteered to oversee the table makeover) to gain any necessary information he would need to execute the project of refinishing the tables. Derrick had to receive donations and fund raise throughout his community for all materials needed to complete the project.
On a summer's day in 2012, LaPlante, Derrick and Derrick's crew of volunteers gathered in Guillette's class to follow LaPlante's lead. The tables made a stunning recovery from the ones described above through the careful lead of LaPlante and with all of the hard work by his volunteers.
Now Guillette is happy to have sturdy tables that allow her to educate her students with less obstacles or distractions. Visual Art students also noticed on day one when they entered the classroom that the tables underwent an extreme makeover. Guillette and her students can now focus on what's important in class, learning the art of creative problem solving, the Elements of Design, and becoming artistic thinkers and creators.
Donating to the project were E.M. Brown & Son, Inc., Art LaPlante, Lucy Neel, Claire and Larry Paradis. Volunteers fro the project were members and parents of local Boy Scout troops: Troop 804 in Newport; Troop 846, LDS in Newport; Troop 880 in Derby. Lunch was provided by David and Sally Carruthers.