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Intermediate South students display their hands-on skills in the school's TR Take-A-Part Lab, a model space funded by a grant from OceanFirst Foundation.

Jan. 17, 2020-- Yesterday marked OceanFirst's final stop on its tour of Toms River Regional schools that earned Model Classroom Grants in 2018. At Intermediate South, OceanFirst Foundation's Katherine Durante and Stephanie Toal visited the TR Take-A-Part Lab.

The model space was the vision of teacher Abigail Stolowski, who transformed the traditional woodshop into a lab where students had the space, tools, and materials required to examine both functioning and malfunctioning technology. After winning the grant and working to redesign the room, Ms. Stolowksi partnered with members of the community to troubleshoot and repair household high and low tech items as well as train students in a variety of career and technical education skills combining their passion with compassion.

On Thursday, that spirit continued to flow through the space as Matt Smith’s students worked with pallets, taking them apart (of course), and refashioning them into both art--such as an American flag-- and practical household items like tables. Under the guidance of Mr. Smith, and while wearing gloves and safety goggles, students moved freely about the room, transitioning from measuring pallet pieces to hammering them down to using more advanced hand tools.

The OceanFirst Foundation grant supported the purchase of open shelving, peg walls, sit-to-stand tables, rolling stools, and a white board, which facilitated the proper organization of hand-tools and supplies needed for students to plan and implement a project.

"What can I learn by taking apart?" is the question that defines the Take-A-Part Lab. Thanks to OceanFirst Foundation, students at Intermediate South will be asking and answering that question for years to come.