Local Teen Makes Free Desks Amid Virtual Learning


Photo by Dylan Samide

Colby Samide cuts wood in his desk building process

Written by David Hamady, Rachel Schneeberg, and Robbie Showers

Woodgrove Junior Colby Samide is building desks to assist local households with distance learning. Because the desks are given free-of-charge to families in need, he has gained local support and nationwide recognition.

Samide crafted 120 desks in total and currently plans to take a break to focus on his junior year. After that, he intends to build twenty more desks over winter break and start full time again next summer. He was motivated by a page on Facebook called “Desks by Dads,” a group of parents in Maryland who are building desks for kids in need. This inspired Samide to create his own FaceBook group, Desks4Distance. 

“I saw what they were doing, and I jumped on the idea and created my own page for  

Loudoun County,” says Samide. “I’ve wanted to give back ever since I moved here because I love it here, and I figured this was a great way to combine my skills to help the less fortunate.”

With distance learning becoming a reality for Loudoun County, many families struggled finding a suitable workplace for school. Samide wasn’t the only one to recognize this problem, as he and other volunteers constructed the desks at Purcellville Makersmith and MOSS Building and Design. “It’s definitely been a community effort,” says Samide. “I have not built all of those myself, rather we all did on build days.”

Colby’s actions also had a positive influence on Woodgrove’s culture. “I think Colby’s actions reflect Woodgrove’s motto of Work, Honor, and Strive. If one considers the amazing work Colby is accomplishing, each word of our motto is intertwined in his desk making process,” says Principal Sam Shipp.

Samide’s work has also inspired students at Woodgrove. “Colby inspires me; he shows that you can do big things even at such a young age,” says sophomore Samantha Miles

With all of the support he has gained, Samide made several appearances on various news networks, most notably on The Ellen Show. Ellen Degeneres congratulated Colby on his successful campaign by surprising him with a $10,000 scholarship for college, and a $10,000 Lowe’s gift card to spend on supplies. “You’re incredible,” says Degeneres. “You’re a smart kid, and you’re going to do something big.”

Colby’s work ethic and grit has motivated others across the country to start their own desk-building projects. Initiatives have been started in states like Texas, Michigan, and California. He helped radiate change beyond his local community and has set a great example for those around him. 

“Colby’s work and dedication are impressive, and he’s inspiring people of all ages. His desire to help others and his compassion are admirable qualities for which I hope all people aspire,” says Shipp.