STORY BY BRIANA THOMAS & PATRICIA TINDLE, FNN REPORTERS, TECH PREP BUREAU
JAN. 10, 2014. On Monday, December 16, 2013, there was a topping off ceremony for the new Friendship Tech Prep academic building opening in the fall of 2014. A topping off ceremony is an event that allows people to see the progress of the building before the building is finished. Tech Prep 11th graders and a select few 6th-8th graders filed into the Friendship Southeast cafeteria for a presentation about the construction of the building and what it will look like when it opens. The mood was neutral. Students seem to be happy with the fact they got to leave class and be a part of a great ceremony.
Donald Hense, founder of Friendship Public Charter Schools, started the presentation with a short speech about how Friendship schools came to be. He explained his vision for the future of this campus. He is working on building a campus with three Friendship schools in one area: Friendship Southeast Elementary, the new Tech Prep high school building and in the near future, a building for the middle school (in what is now the parking lot of Friendship Southeast).
We then listened to department managers from Turner Construction present and explain their part in the construction process of the building. We saw a time lapse video showing the beginning of construction until now. After this, we viewed a three-dimensional digital representation of the building that showed how the computer is a useful tool for finding possible problems within the structure.
Ms. Tindle, Principal of Friendship Tech Prep, had this to say about the ceremony, "Today, 40 students from our 6th-8th grade got to experience something that was particularly inspiring to me. Students participated in a "Topping Off" ceremony, where they listened to Turner Construction managers present the design and construction behind their new building. All our students were genuinely invested, asking questions ranging from programming to design. I literally could see the future of Tech Prep, and it is high-performing. I'd like to shout out to Mr. Hense for dreaming a big dream when all anyone else saw was an abandoned McDonald's parking lot. These are the moments I am reminded of why I believe so deeply in Friendship".
When we walked into the building, we noticed that the windows weren’t yet installed. It was brisk outside, practically freezing and the building was just as cold. We had to walk in at the front entrance where there were a bunch of construction workers standing around. We saw the space that is going to be our cafeteria, but students were expecting more to be done with the space. We also got the chance to sign our names on a column inside the building. We were excited to see a part of the building because we’ve been looking forward to a new building.
Briana Thomas and Patricia Tindle are juniors at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.