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Hampton/Shaler

Bench donation perfect fit at BTA

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, 6:33 p.m.
Christian Harper, an aspiring Eagle Scout, designed, built and donated six wooden benches for the library renovation at Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw.
Submitted
Christian Harper, an aspiring Eagle Scout, designed, built and donated six wooden benches for the library renovation at Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw.
Christian Harper, an aspiring Eagle Scout, designed, built and donated six wooden benches for the library renovation at Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw.
Submitted
Christian Harper, an aspiring Eagle Scout, designed, built and donated six wooden benches for the library renovation at Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw.
Hampton High School senior Christian Harper (back left) built benches for Blessed Trinity Academy’s Library. Seated (from left) are second-graders Callie Kandravy and Kaylie Mitchell; fourth-grader Erica Mitchell; sixth-grader Michael Bridgeman; fifth-grader Ben Kandravy; fourth-graders Jacob Bridgeman and Jack Kandravy. BTA Principal Jessica Rock (back left) was on hand for the dedication.
Hampton High School senior Christian Harper (back left) built benches for Blessed Trinity Academy’s Library. Seated (from left) are second-graders Callie Kandravy and Kaylie Mitchell; fourth-grader Erica Mitchell; sixth-grader Michael Bridgeman; fifth-grader Ben Kandravy; fourth-graders Jacob Bridgeman and Jack Kandravy. BTA Principal Jessica Rock (back left) was on hand for the dedication.

A senior at Hampton High School has helped with the library renovation at Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw by designing, creating and donating a set of six, wooden benches.

Christian Harper of Allison Park hand built the benches to be placed in the library of the former St. Mary’s of the Assumption School on Middle Road, which merged last year with St. Bonaventure and St. Ursula, he said.

The Blessed Trinity Academy library has been under going under renovation since the merger of the three schools, said Jessica Rock, school principal. Harper said he was looking for a project to use toward earning his yet-to-be-determined Eagle Scout rank when he learned the library at the former St. Mary’s church needed updates.

Harper designed the six benches to form a hexagonal shape when pushed together, perfect for occupants to work together and collaborate. Or they can be separated. He used birch veneer wood with solid pine as the trim. And they include space for storage.

“The benches that Christian made are a welcome addition to our library. When we began redesigning the library, we realized that new and updated furniture was a must. We needed areas and places where students could collaborate, relax, and enjoy. Christian’s bench design was just what we needed,” Rock said.

Some research was required for him to accomplish the work. He didn’t have much woodworking skills prior to this project. Also, a family friend gave assistance with some of the cutting and assembly. The whole project took him approximately “150 man hours,” he said.

This was a learning experience for Harper. It was the first occasion he was the “lead” of a project.

While he finished the project, Harper said he still hasn’t been approved of the Eagle Scout rank, which has to undergo the organization’s board of review. He’s been a Boy Scout for almost eight years and was a Cub Scout in elementary school.

Harper is in the Hampton High School Marching Band and plays ultimate soccer. He’s also a parishioner at St. Mary’s.

Rock said when the schools merged, the existing library needed to be renovated and “open up” the layout, while also updating books and the library system. The benches Harper designed and created perfectly complement the library’s purpose, she said.

Other notable library renovations include colorful murals that decorate the walls and a new computer system to help organize their “significant number of new books,” said Meredith Kandravy, admissions and marketing director there.

She said the whole room was painted and cleaned and cleared out. While furniture has been ordered, the school is still trying to raise funds to buy more.

Overall, the project is nearing completion, Kandravy said. Volunteers are still scanning and shelving books, but the library is up and running.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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