Members of the Riverhead High School Interact Club pose with club advisor Debbie Cantalupo in front of the Habitat for Humanity home they helped work on Thursday. Photo: Alek Lewis

Students in Riverhead High School’s Interact Club helped today in the construction of a home in Riverside with Habitat for Humanity.

Students and their club advisor, Debbie Cantalupo, were at the construction site at 116 Vail Avenue. Students cut tile for the home’s bathrooms, spackled, and removed bamboo from the front yard.

Construction on the house started in February, and the Interact Club did its first visit to the site — which included cleaning up the property’s landscape and installing insulation — in April, Cantalupo said. The club raised more than $800 throughout the school year so students could participate in the construction of the home.

Miguel Garcia, Destiny Baker and Victoria Arm work on the front lawn of the Habitat for Humanity home being built at 116 Vail Avenue. Photo: Alek Lewis

Destiny Baker, a senior who joined the Interact Club for the first time this year, said working on the home makes her feel proud.

“I felt really helpful because we’re helping somebody move to a house and getting it ready for them. Because these are houses meant for people who can’t afford other houses,” Baker said. “So it’s something good. And everybody that comes here is working on their own terms and working just because they want to help other people.”

Miguel Garcia, a senior, said this house was the third he has helped Habitat for Humanity build in Riverside. 

“I have actually really enjoyed doing community services like this. It makes me feel like I’m giving back to the community that I’ve been in for so long in my life,” Garcia said. “I’ve spent 17 years of my life within Riverhead and I’ve done so much with the community. It makes me feel like I’ve given back before I go out and explore the world.”

The Interact Club is sponsored by the Riverhead Rotary Club. The members on site today were: Destiny Baker; Miguel Garcia; Victoria Arm; Ava Neras; Shannon Noone; Avery Mato; Reese Wirth; and Daniel Terlikawski. 

Any student who is interested in joining the Interact Club can contact Cantalupo at

Ava Neras and Shannon Noone, juniors at Riverhead High School, work on a bathroom for Habitat for Humanity. Photo: Alek Lewis

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: