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MacKenna Cole, St. J Academy Senior Makes Bench for the NVRH Chapel for Capstone Project

Friday, December 29, 2017

MacKenna Cole, a senior at St. Johnsbury Academy designed and handcrafted a bench for the chapel at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital. The bench was made and given in memory of MacKenna’s grandmother, Beverly Gehlbach, who passed away this fall.

MacKenna constructed the bench from locally harvested ash. The wood was cut by two St. J Academy teachers, Matthew Stark and Jeremy Roberts. As a freshman, MacKenna took woodworking during summer camp; as a junior she took Introduction to Woodworking and this year she took taking Advanced Woodworking with Matthew Stark.

Having hand drawn the bench after researching many ideas, Mackenna worked over 200 hours to complete the bench, and it shows. There are many complicated, delicate and hidden angles, along with a gently recessed seat, which makes it very comfortable. The finish is smooth and lovely, hand-sanded and polished with polyurethane. MacKenna had met with Abby Pollender, Interfaith Chaplain several times, deciding on the placement, taking measurements and finalizing the fit. The dragonfly stained glass piece is non-religious, speaking to the mission of the chapel as interfaith – all faiths are welcome.

With her intention to give to the community she was born and raised in, MacKenna chose NVRH, where she was born. Eventually, she’ll enjoy showing her children the bench.

Dan Dudas, MacKenna’s stepfather helped to deliver the bench to NVRH, and his pride was obvious as he smiled and declared that he’s “thoroughly impressed.”

Chaplain Abby Pollender is equally pleased. “It’s fits perfectly in every way. The placement, simplicity and beauty of the bench make it inviting, comfortable and encouraging of quiet contemplation.”

 


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Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
PO Box 905 1315 Hospital Drive
St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819
802-748-8141
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