Greenwich Academy Press

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Greenwich Academy Press

Greenwich Academy Press

Can You Literally D16 It? GA Seniors Go To NOLA

On June 7th, thirty-two Greenwich Academy rising seniors accompanied by eight chaperones headed to New Orleans for a meaningful week of community service and culture .

There were no traces of the stresses of junior year when the students filled their early morning flight with the sound of animated chatter.

        Upon arrival, the smothering Louisiana humidity welcomed the group with open arms. The first two days of the trip provided some release from the heat with visits to the Louisiana State Museum and Mardi Gras World, as well as an evening cooking class.

        “We were able to see the culture of New Orleans, a place that is very different from our hometown in Greenwich. We got to try, and even make, the food, meet the people, and explore on our own,” Ali Mothner, XII, said.

The history of Mardi Gras, voodoo, extravagant costumes, and elaborate parade floats illustrated how this culture is unlike anything else in the United States. The cooking lesson gave rise to some concern about the group’s culinary abilities, but ultimately ended in a satisfying meal of gumbo and bananas foster.

        The trip really became exciting, however, when we began our work with Habitat for Humanity. Upon arriving at the construction site, the group started off by clearing trash out of the area. The group set the tone for the rest of the week by quickly getting to work and clearing out the monumental amount of garbage in a matter of minutes.



        With that, the construction began. The group split into teams, lining the cement stilts with anti-insect sheets, cutting planks of wood, and establishing a perimeter of these planks on which the house would rest. Throughout the week, the group filled this perimeter with the inner part of the floor, soon laying floorboards on top, and eventually hammering walls into place.

        The group agreed that, as difficult as the school year was, no amount of studying or essay writing could compare to the physical exertion needed for this project. But that was no reason for discouragement.

        “My favorite part [of the trip] was actually that it was nothing like anything I’d ever done. I’m so grateful that I got to try something completely new,” said Jordan Fischetti, XII.

        Of course, the progress made on the house did not happen without the excitement of ineffective nails, hammered fingers, and thunderstorms aplenty. The eventual clean lines of the house were deceiving; the simplicity of the structure hid the effort needed to install every single plank of wood. Many nails bent and efforts to hold and stabilize the wood were met with misplaced hammers, often producing bruised fingers. The humidity broke unpredictably into torrential downpours that muddied sneakers and delayed work.

        Yet these obstacles only proved to motivate the group to make as much progress as possible. For four days, hammers pounded in unison to the tunes of a Spotify playlist, driving the group through downpours of both sweat and rain.

        “We encouraged each other when the work was daunting, thunderstorms loomed, and when the heat sucked everything out of us. We persevered and never forgot to smile and sing loudly as we hammered thousands of nails,” reflected Phoebe Morris, XII.

Despite the suffocating heat, the all-consuming dirt, and the tasks requiring daunting physical strength, the group worked tirelessly to bring the house from a simple foundation to the bones of an entire first floor. In the final hour of the last day of construction, the entire group put their last shreds of energy into a unified effort to install the walls that were the perfect finishing touch on the week’s efforts.

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Can You Literally D16 It? GA Seniors Go To NOLA