Tuckahoe High School Students Work on Habitat Build in Yonkers

A group of Tuckahoe High School 9th through 12th-graders spent part of their weekend cleaning up an old elementary school on Ashburton Avenue in Yonkers that is currently the site of an after-school program run by the Yonkers Community Action Program.

The 12 students doing the work at the former P.S. 12 are members of Tuckahoe High School’s Habit for Humanity Club. The Yonkers Public Schools officially closed the school about 20 years ago.

Under the watchful eye of the club’s advisor, Joanne Ornstein, the students spent close to three hours on April 15 scraping the walls of the dilapidated building and painting other areas of it, including the stairways and a notice board near the entrance to the building. Others spent their time on scaffolding in the downstairs gymnasium, also removing the peeling paint and plaster on the walls. 

Jim Killoran, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, was also lending a helping hand. Mr. Killoran is the driving force behind much of the neighborhood revitalization work that is ongoing throughout southwest Yonkers.  His intention is to get the interior of the school in good shape so that it can be used for summer camp programs and extended after-school activities. 

Mikaela Iommazzo, who currently serves as president of the club, and Jada Pearson, both seniors, said they were happy to spend a Sunday morning on the project. Both girls were painting the stairway steps in red so that the students who use the building can know where to safely go throughout the school, explained Ms. Ornstein. She said the club and its community service work has had a positive effect on all of the student volunteers.  “You teach them in high school and then they take it with them for life. That’s what makes this club so great,” she added.