MMSD educator building desks for students to help with virtual learning

MADISON, Wis. — A Madison Metropolitan School District educator is using her passion for woodworking and students to make virtual learning go as smooth as possible.

Jocelyn Lepinski has been with MMSD for 12 years. Formerly a teacher in the district, Lepinski now works for the central office as a universal systems coach. She said she spends several hours after work every day building desks for students and families in need. She said she can build around six desks per day.

“It always feels like it’s a chance to do the right thing and to help kids find success and do what they want,” Lepinski said. “The way the world is right now, I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”

Lepinski has now made 75 desks that she personally delivered to students and school drop off locations.

“I don’t know who they are. I just know that they’re families that need desks,” she said.

Black Hawk Middle School seventh grade student Ja’Kylah Powers is one of many students who received one of Lepinski’s handmade desks. Powers said she’s spent the past month working with her laptop in bed and doing homework with her laptop on her nightstand. Powers said with her new desk, she can work more efficiently.

“I just want to thank Jocelyn and her family for taking the time to make desks and give them out and being so generous to drop them off to students,” Powers said.

Powers’ aunt/guardian Alyssa Ivy said the desks are awesome and have been a huge help to families who can’t afford to go out and buy their own desk for virtual learning this year.

“She’s basically been doing virtual learning on her bed or using her nightstand as a makeshift desk and it just wasn’t sustainable,’ Ivy said. “Like for the entire year just crunched over trying to do virtual learning. It really helped to have the desk to be a space where she can just sit and focus.”

“It feels like the right thing to do,” Lepinski said. “If I have the talent to do it, I would like to do it because this time is so hard.”

To request a desk or to donate to Lepinski so she can continue to purchase materials to make desks, you can email her at jklepinski26@uwalumni.com.