Pottstown Students, Foundation Team Up on Floor Fix

POTTSTOWN PA – Here’s a tale that proves doing good begets more good.

A charitable act last year by a Pottstown High School construction technology class has turned into a second charitable act from a 2007 Pottstown construction tech graduate, and that has resulted in a third act – a fund-raising campaign – which students hope will help them refinish concrete flooring in their classroom workspace at no cost to the school district.

Toward the end of the last academic year, students offered to help construction and woodworking instructor Stephen Sievers clean and organize the workspace in their classroom, and update its garage door. Sievers said “thanks,” and “yes,” and then went one more step. He turned the door project into a learning experience about painting surfaces, and choosing correct paints and brushes for the job.

Once that clean-up was complete, the students noticed the workspace floor was in bad shape and similarly needed work. Sievers contacted Chris Mest, a 2007 Pottstown High and construction technology graduate, who owns Royal Concrete Services in Pottstown. He fixed a small part of the floor (at top) while demonstrating how his company prepares, repairs, and installs epoxy floors with a urethane topcoat.

The students were so pleased with the effort, they asked Mest for a quote to complete the entire floor. He offered to donate his labor and complete the work only for his cost of materials. He also agreed to allow the students to assist with the project, giving them hands-on experience in concrete floor refinishing.

Senior Anthony Pinos-Castillo went to work, and with an extended fund-raiser – selling popsicles during the hot summer weather at Memorial Park – raised more than $600. That was a great start, but far from the roughly $8,000 necessary to have the work done. Undeterred, Pinos-Castillo’s next stop in seeking help was the Foundation for Pottstown Education and its director, Joe Rusiewicz.

Rusiewicz was impressed several times over: first by the students’ initiative, second by Mest’s willingness to share his knowledge, and third by Pinos-Castillo’s and his classmates’ refusal to let “the lack of funds get them down. They roll up their sleeves and get to work, even if it means selling popsicles,” he said, calling it “a case of education going full circle.”

Together Rusiewicz and Pinos-Castillo created a solicitation letter to potential donors, explaining the need for the project and the students’ desire to raise the money.

The response has been gratifying. As of Thursday (Sept. 16, 2021), donors had contributed nearly $7,567, or 95 percent of the total needed to get the flood refinished, according to a post at the foundation’s Facebook page.

Want to help? Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Foundation for Pottstown Education, either by mailing a check to it at 230 Beech St., Pottstown PA 19464, or by visiting the foundation’s website, here. Write “Construction Room Floor” in the memo line of the check, or in the notes area of the online form.

Photo supplied by the Foundation for Pottstown Education