G’07 Alumna Shows Her Mettle with Hammer and Saw

What started out as an audition among a field of 3,000 handy people last spring turned into a gig on HGTV’s “All American Handyman” reality show for 2007 alumna Allison Oropallo.

Photo of Allison Oropallo using saw table
Photo: As part of the competition, Allison Oropallo G’07 uses a table saw.

Oropallo, who received her master’s in education from the branch campus at Queensbury, was among 20 contestants brought to New York City for 10 days to complete challenging construction projects, impress the judges and gain support from a phone-in fan base. The entire show, which aired for seven weeks this fall, was filmed in that 10-day time frame.

Throughout the course of the series, Oropallo survived elimination until she was one of three remaining semi-finalists. She and fellow contestants were asked to do such handy work as building a mock living room from basic frame to completion, repairing hardwood flooring, installing a light fixture and building a brick chimney. The final project: building a kitchen in five hours. The winner would end up with $10,000 and a development deal with HGTV.

Although Orophallo was named the fan favorite, the judges named one of her rivals “All American Handyman.” As runner-up, Oropallo received a $1,500 Sears prize package for her efforts.

“The best part of the experience was definitely making it to the end,” Oropallo said. “I did this competition because I knew I could. I feel pretty proud.”

Oropallo, originally from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., lives in Stoneham, Mass., where she teaches engineering and technology at the Ottoson Middle School in Arlington, Mass. The technologically savvy Oropallo has also coached a Legos robotics team.

“My fans have been amazing, and I am humbled by all the support,” she said. “My students, colleagues and alumni at my high school and college helped build my fan base. I would love to be able to have my own show. I’ll keep working toward that goal.”