Best of the best

Toll Gate boasts 5 top drafters


Students from Dean DeAndrea’s Computer Aided Drafting and Design class at Toll Gate High School cleaned up this year in multiple state and regional competitions. Five of his students walked away with awards, accomplishments DeAndrea said he is “exceptionally proud” of.

Three students took first, second and third place in the Technology Student Association’s Computer Aided Drafting competition. Junior Jonathan Herchuk won third place; Sophomore Arielle Frank won second; and Daniel Josephson, a junior, won first prize.

The students had to draft a specific machine, including an isometric, or three dimensional, view of the object – a topic not covered in the curriculum of the class. Herchuk, Frank and Josephson taught themselves to draw the isometric view, a challenge they all said was the most difficult part of the competition.

In addition to the three prizewinners, Patrick Worrell, a senior in DeAndrea’s class, nabbed second place in New England Institute of Technology’s (NEIT) Computer Aided Design Mechanical Technology Contest.

“I had to draw a complicated mechanical part,” said Worrell. Worrell, who has no previous experience with drafting, said he had been doing well with the coursework since early in the year. DeAndrea encouraged him to enter the contest. Soon, Worrell received the piece of machinery he was supposed to draw, and he got to work. The project took him several months, with most of his time being spent on the details. In April, Worrell found out that his hard work and attention to detail had paid off, and he placed second place and won $1,500 in scholarship money to NEIT. Worrell won’t be using that money though; instead he’ll be heading to URI next year to study engineering.

“It was nice,” he said of the award. Worrell said a lot of the other competitors were from vocational schools, so he was proud of himself for doing so well against his well-trained competition. Worrell plans to study engineering, and hopes to incorporate the skills he already had into his advanced training next year.

Rounding out the five prizewinners from DeAndrea’s class is Junior Ashley Brugnoli, who won first place in the Rhode Island National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) competition for her design of a 7,000-square-foot foster home for children with disabilities. Burgnoli worked on the design for the entire year, ensuring her home had specifications for blind and deaf children, as well as doors wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. After winning first place in the state, Brugnoli went on to win first in the region and then third in the country.

DeAndrea said her dedication to the project showed, and Brugnoli spent countless hours outside of the classroom pouring over her designs.

“These students did this above and beyond their coursework,” said DeAndrea. “It’s something these kids all worked very hard on.”

DeAndrea said his students all took initiative to work on the projects when he suggested them to his students.

“I’m blessed,” he said. “They’re all very conscientious and do seem to want to learn. They stepped up.”

DeAndrea had one extra trick up his sleeve to keep his students motivated. He pointed to a clipping from the Beacon on his wall: a picture of former Toll Gate award-winners from his class.

“This could be you,” he reminded his students throughout the year. Now it is.


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