CONCORD, CA (May 25, 2022) — In the spirit of giving back to their community, Carondelet High School’s “Engineering for Social Good” students built a sustainable tiny house for local farm workers in need of housing. The ribbon cutting ceremony for the tiny house happened earlier this month.
The Tiny House project is the inaugural activity of the “Engineering for Social Good” class, where 11th and 12th graders at Carondelet built a tiny house on wheels, sized at 20’ x 8’ x 11’, utilizing core design thinking and engineering concepts for this hands-on, community project. Thirty students collaborated on all aspects of the house, including architectural layout, framing, electrical, plumbing, exteriors and more.
The tiny house will provide free housing for local farm workers in collaboration with Hijas del Campo (Daughters of the Field), a nonprofit serving the needs of farmworkers in Contra Costa County.
“With women grossly under-represented in engineering, architecture and construction, we wanted to create a class to provide Carondelet students with a rich, hands-on experience in STEM—and make a meaningful difference in our local community at the same time,“ said Chris Walsh, Director of Innovation and leader of the project.
Learning by doing
Kristina Levesque, math teacher and co-teacher for the project, said, “The course where students receive academic credit relies heavily on learning-by-doing with performance-based assessments that demonstrate a student’s knowledge and skills in STEM.”
By the end of the course, students developed an engineer’s ability to contribute to social good, feel comfortable with brainstorming, prototyping and testing products, delivering a high-quality product to real world users, and effectively communicating their ideas visually and verbally to an audience.
“The Engineering for Social Good class reflects the Carondelet mission of serving their neighbor, all while empowering myself and other young women to explore the STEM field in a non-traditional classroom setting,” said senior Chloe De Smedt.
“We knew going in that this project would require strong partnerships with local business leaders, talented professionals sharing their knowledge as guest teachers, generous donors and sponsors and our broader Carondelet family. We are grateful that our community responded so enthusiastically,” President Annette Eros added.
Jay Bedecarré is a long-time resident and writer in Concord and Clayton. He began his newspaper writing career while still a senior at Mt. Diablo High School and he has been part of The Pioneer since its inception in 2003. Jay also operates Bay Area Festivals, presenting events around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bay Area KidFest annually in Downtown Concord.