Westfield Technical Academy is ready for the Westfield 350 parade


The Polish National President Union float built by Westfield Technical Academy students. (Photo submitted)

WESTFIELD – From baking cupcakes to constructing floats, Westfield Technical Academy’s shops and students are pitching in to help celebrate Westfield’s 350th birthday this weekend.
Chef Phil Mucciarone said his culinary arts students will be in the pavilion at Park Square Green Sunday frosting the 1,000 cupcakes they baked to hand out at the end of the parade. He said all of the students are really excited about participating, and have put months of work into the preparation.
“They’re really excited to show the pictures to their kids and grandkids,” said Mucciarone.
The pavilion is a fitting place for them to be, as last week a plaque was installed listing the names of all of the Construction Tech and Electrical Wiring students who built it.
Construction Tech also collaborated with The Polish National Credit Union and several other shops in the school to build a float for the Westfield 350 parade.
“The Polish National Credit Union has formed a partnership with the Westfield Technical Academy Foundation to support us in providing the best educational experiences possible for our students,” said Matthew Gomes, department head of Construction Tech. He said the Credit Union has committed to provide funding for future development projects, including the construction of a new home in Westfield “built by our students and sold for the benefit of our students.”
Gomes said they have been planning the float project since January, and it includes the skills and talents of students in several different technical shops. Automotive Technology replaced the tires on the trailer and made sure everything was mechanically sound. The Collision Technology students collaborated with Steve Adam and Aaron Powell of MTG Inc. of Westfield who cut the bridge from 1/4″ plate steel on their state-of-the art Fiber Optic Cutter using high pressure nitrogen, and also held a hands-on tutorial at WTA showing students how to weld all the parts together. The Collision Technology Students also provided a high quality paint job for the bridge.
The carpentry students framed the float platform and buildings; used their CNC Router to cut out the character silhouettes, signs, and Clock Tower components; and finally painted everything, carpeted the float, and assembled all of the components.
The float uses multiple “character scenes” to highlight all of the bank’s products. The character scenes include a home under construction, a new driver with her car, a college student at WSU, a retired couple in a yoga pose under a palm tree, a grand opening storefront, and iconic hallmarks of the City of Westfield, including the clock tower and the Great River Bridge. Graphic arts students cut out the vinyl and applied it to the characters and signage bringing the scenes to life, Gomes said.
“There are several fine details, such as the time on the clock tower set to 3:50 and the Polish National Credit Union letterhead in the businessman’s hand,” Gomes said.  “The project was a great success and allowed us to collaborate between departments in a way we rarely, if ever, get the opportunity. I even got a helping hand from the Culinary Arts Department when they gave me a plastic container with a lid to mix some custom grey paint for the grout lines on the storefront. Students have made connections to potential careers in welding, and we had a lot of fun showcasing the talents of our students. I am so very proud of the students here at Westfield Technical Academy and I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this project, and for our partnership with the Polish National Credit Union.”
Student Services Coordinator Robert Ollari said it’s a great float, and all of the students did a great job building it. The float won’t be in the same section of the parade as WTA, however. The float will be in Division 3, while Westfield Technical Academy will be in Division 6 marching after Westfield High School. Westfield 350 coordinator Harry Rock said on Thursday that he expects 1,500 to 2,000 people marching in the parade.
Marching with WTA will be several clubs in uniform. Ollari said he encouraged all the students to participate by shop, club or sports team, and many of them will be. Ollari said he’s heard from the CyberPatriot Club, Business Tech, Aviation Maintenance and several sports teams that they will all be marching, but he thinks others will be there that didn’t get back to him.
Ollari said he has heard from the WTA mascot, the Tiger, who will definitely be there.

(L-R): Matthew Gomes (Carpentry Teacher), Sean O’Keefe, Joe Tortoriello, Janeah Aponte, Jack Koske, Emily Acosta, Pavel Kirpichev, Anthony Lombardo, Benjamin Goyette, Bailey Ala, Rachael Cyrankowski, Mateo Sanchez, Kooper St Onge, Ava Hardie, Cailey Bixby, Samantha Laplante, Kira Stoops, Matthew Seklecki (Graphic Arts Teacher), Brian Roy (Carpentry Teacher), Rick LaBay (Carpentry) (Photo submitted)

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