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New desks aimed at helping Missoula students

Donated desks
Posted at 2:20 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 16:20:54-05

MISSOULA — If you have ever watched students doing remote learning, many are sprawled out on a bed or on the floor.

It’s not the best position to focus on the assignment. Some of that is by choice, but for others, it’s out of necessity because they don’t have a proper place to study.

Enter Chip Rinehart, the building trades teacher at Hellgate High School, and on Thursday Rinehart dropped off 10 desks at Lowell Elementary School -- desks that his students built in class.

Rinehart’s own parents encouraged the project after they heard about it elsewhere. So, Rinehart started scrounging for materials and found scraps left around the building, as well as from the renovation of the Hellgate library.

His students were eager to help out and Lowell Elementary School was thrilled to get the desks that students can take home.

“When we did home visits -- and talking to kids -- one of their barriers is having a place to actually sit down and study and focus on their learning,” Lowell Elementary School Principal Barbara Frank said.

“I tell you the world‘s gonna be fine. These kids are great, and they’re excited to help,” Rinehart said. “And now that was this project -- and all projects that I needed -- it never ceases to amaze me how all these kids' willingness to do stuff for other people and they were very excited to do it. They thought it was cool.”

This was a community project, with the custodians, the Lowell librarian and the PTA among those helping out.

Rinehart and his students will continue to build more desks until his supplies run out. He also told MTN News he’s always looking for donated materials to keep his students engaged.