, Derry, New Hampshire

June 27, 2013

Derry student aims big when building models

Hood School graduate builds massive model home

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — Alex LaCortiglia loved building his model of the famed ship Titanic so much he wanted to do it again — and five more times after that.

A love of building models led him to a project at his school, one that was more than 5 feet long, 2 feet wide and more than 2 feet high, with 460 rafters and 300 studs.

A large, colonial-style, hip roof wooden house stood in the lobby at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School last week, created by Alex as part of his technical education class under the guidance of teacher Steve Thomas.

Alex, 14, was just promoted out of the eighth-grade at Hood. Before he left, he wanted to leave a special gift behind for his school and for Thomas.

“I wanted to give it to Mr. Thomas, as he inspired me to make more models,” Alex said.

Before describing the large wooden house, Alex showed off an earlier project, a much smaller shed that paled a bit in comparison to the towering residence on a nearby table.

His love of models forged his talents with wood. His father, John, knows construction and framing, and is also a Hood alumnus. He helped Alex with the house design.

“He also cut most of the materials,” Alex said.

The work began with mixing the cement for the foundation, then meticulously framing out the house, gluing all the parts into place.

The open design shows the home’s several bedrooms and hip-style roof.

Hood principal Austin Garofalo said Alex aimed high when he decided to build his house.

“It’s nice when a kid gets inspired,” he said. “It shows that kids do have a lot of (talent) and we can tap into that, future architects, engineers, who knows.”

By leaving his house model behind at the school, Alex hopes more students will follow the model-building path and strive to think big when it comes to what they want to build.

“Perhaps I will inspire other students to build (projects) like this,” he said.

Alex will spend his summer building more models and working with his dad on some building projects.