Support our carpentry student’s service build in New Orleans, 11th year!


The emerging technical skills of our students will be brought to the service of those most in need: the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, at least 8,000 to 10,000 families are still unable to return to their homes. We will collaborate with at least nine Career Vocational and Technical Education schools (CVTE) from across Massachusetts, to create a curriculum of caring as we help to rebuild homes.

Please watch our trailer to get a feel for our student’s experience in New Orleans or watch the full length (10 min) film produced by the students of Newton North TV Productions

The goal of Mass Nine For The 9th is to return a family to their home and to strengthen the Character development of our students.

The Process
Massachusetts CVTE students and staff will offer a variety of building trades to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Students will work for nine successive weeks on the same project, under the management of The St. Bernard Project, in order to restore a family to their home. Our curriculum, Leadership In A Diverse Society, will provide a conduit for students to experience a classroom without walls. Students will engage in rich cultural exchange, and begin to synthesize their understanding of the political, racial, social, and economic regional realities that have resulted from this natural disaster. This in turn will help to foster an understanding of community service as a responsibility to citizenship. Through this building process, our students will become builders of a better world.

A year after Katrina, Peter Goddard, a Newton North English instructor of Leadership in a Diverse Society, began to discuss some of the fallout from Katrina. Out of these discussions emerged student desire for an appropriate response that was mindful of justice. The question was asked “what can we do to help?” In the Spring of 2006, Mr. Goddard and 25 students volunteered their time and energy in New Orleans. These students and faculty cleared brush and painted houses. Two years later Garrett Tingle, carpentry instructor at Newton North, partnered with Peter to include his students. It was a natural progression to expand the program to include students with building skills. During Garrett’s first stay in New Orleans, he and six students were able to meet a family, and helped to remodel their home by creating handicap openings. They shared a powerful story of devastation and loss. There was a clear connection made. After six days this crew left feeling as though they had made a positive contribution.

The following year, Garrett and his students returned to New Orleans, very excited to see the fruits of their labor. What transpired was surreal. The man of the house was sitting in his front yard in his pick up truck. This is where he often sat because he had no finished home. The group exchanged greetings and said they wanted to see the finished interior. Sadly, he stared at their faces and said “No one’s done a damn thing since ya’ll left”. The kids were stunned, devastated and mad, but nothing compared to what the homeowner must have felt. All of a sudden they were part of a reality of an unfinished script. Out of this experience was born the idea for Mass Nine For The 9th, because good will without skill only goes so far. What is needed in New Orleans is continuity of skilled volunteer labor where homes can be completed under the umbrella of an agency that can manage a project from start to finish.

Mass Nine for the Ninth is an initiative born out of the Newton Public Schools Innovation Lab.

April 201

Mass Nine for the 9th brought a group of 50 students and 12 adults, our largest group to date, to New Orleans this April to continue the work of rebuilding in the lower ninth ward.  Two students from Newton North’s deaf and hard of hearing program (EDCO) were also part of our contingent this year.  This trip launched the work of our first collaboration with an outside school.  Carpentry students from Blue Hills Regional Vocational Technical High School along with carpentry instructor Bob Foley and support staff participated in our week long build.  We are extremely grateful to the hard work of Scott Dunlap and Amanda Mazola from Newton North’s TV and film production program and their students, for their tireless effort filming our full week in New Orleans.  Please enjoy the trailer, the documentary will be out this Fall.

Thanks to your generous contributions and the support of our school community, Mass Nine For the 9th contributed 1,708 skilled community service hours.

A special thanks to Mayor Setti Warren, Superintendent Dr. David Fleishman, Principal Dr. Jennifer Price, Newton School committee, Newton Schools Foundation and Newton North High School PTSO for their continued support. And thank you to master carpenter Robert Tingle, Maggie Tingle and Richard Heidlage for donating a week of your time to work with us and to help guide student learning.


Royce and Solly planning out octagon frame

Check out this great article about us and our upcoming fundraiser at Tommy Doyle’s

September 26, 2013

7:00 pm

The Newton North Carpentry Program and Mass Nine For the 9th invite parents and guardians to an informational meeting, this Thursday, September 26th at 7:00 pm.  We will meet in the Carpentry classroom, rm 152, and hopefully answer all of your questions regarding our upcoming trip to New Orleans this Spring. Please feel free to join, even if you are not sure your family will be a part of this trip. If you have any questions before then you can contact us at



March 5, 2013

We just returned from New Orleans where the kids did some amazing work. It was a truly rich experience. Nine carpentry students helped to remodel a woman’s home who has been living in her trailer in her front yard for the last seven years. Her stories to the students were moving and the kids really connected with her, this was evident in their consistent hard work each day. Students didn’t want to leave. They wanted to see the project through to the end.  Please check out our photo gallery for recent photos.






One Response to

  1. mould says:

    hello It’s a nice post.

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