Over the summer, Rockwood Summit High teacher Gayle Piepho participated in a build with the Maryland Heights chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP), a national organization that builds, assembles and delivers bunk beds to children and families in need.
When she learned how many families in the St. Louis area need beds – and saw the enjoyment on the recipients’ faces on delivery day – she knew this would be a valuable project to bring back to the students in the Geometry in Construction (GIC) class that she and Mike Brown teach at Rockwood Summit.
“Mike and I have the same philosophy: We want to help the community and have kids do things for other people,” Piepho said. “Every year, we evaluate and figure out how we can have the kids be a part of something bigger than our class.”
Over the past month, the GIC students at Rockwood Summit constructed 30 bunk beds to donate to SHP. Piepho said she mentioned the project to students at an open house at the beginning of the school year, and they had been eager to get started for the past six months. Piepho and Brown worked with Rockwood STEM Coordinator Brian Reed and Maryland Heights SHP chapter president Steve McLean to make the project a reality.
GIC is a class offered at all four Rockwood high schools that offers hands-on learning experiences in which students apply geometry concepts to a variety of construction processes to see the connection between the two.
“GIC is the perfect opportunity to get to apply math to something in real life,” said Rockwood Summit sophomore Jane Cottle. “It’s really nice that we get to do something meaningful in this class to help other people.”
McLean has visited the class on multiple occasions recently to meet with the students, answer their questions about the project and tell them about the families their work will benefit.
“I enjoy watching the kids do all this and learn these skills that you can use the rest of your life,” McLean said. “They’re putting together these beds and making a huge impact on the St. Louis community. It’s very rewarding to watch that.”
Now that the students have completed their beds, the local SHP chapter will distribute them to families in need.
“It’s a really rewarding project, and it’s such a great cause,” Brown said. “This is going to be a need for a while, so we want to keep helping as much as we can.”