(Shenandoah) – Some students at Shenandoah High School bear witness to the old adage “learning is doing.”
Last February, the Shenandoah City Council approved the sale of vacant property at 213 West Sheridan Avenue to the Shenandoah School District for $1. A month later, students in the high school’s industrial technology classes launched a large-scale renovation of the dilapidated structure as part of the district’s vocational technical education program. Denise Green is the district’s IGNITE K-12 coordinator. Green tells KMA News that nine students are involved in the project this semester.
“These kids are going to school in the morning,” Green said, “and they’re basically doing their reading, their math, their social studies, and they’re taking an elective — if they have an elective. But that class is part of their optional credits, so they’re here about two hours a day and will get three high school credits.
Shenandoah High Industrial Tech instructor Jay Sweet says the students cleaned up a lot in the spring and summer. He says considerable progress has been made on the interior and exterior of the building since then.
“Now the house inside is totally gutted,” Sweet said. “And, we have a new floor installed in there. Right now they are working on the back of the house – the foundations and the foundations. Each of them has a different responsibility. I hope they close this thing. before the snow falls, and they can work inside.”
Sweet says home remodeling is only part of the high school building trades curriculum.
“They are subject to carpentry I,” he said. “That’s where they learn all the tools. So I have about a dozen kids in that class at school. They work on sheds and learn the basics of framing, siding and put on shingles and put up doors etc. Then they have the basic tools to work with when they come to this class, some need a bit of a brush up, but most know how to use the equipment.
Shenandoah High Junior Mason Booker is among the “helping hands” of the project. Booker hopes the home remodeling experience will give him a head start on a future career in construction.
“I love being involved in that,” Booker said. “It teaches me a lot about things to come because when I’m older I plan to go to trade school. It teaches me what I’m going to end up doing later in life. I think it’s a great opportunity to learn that now.”
An advisory group and donations of materials from local industries help students. Once that project is complete this school year, SHS officials hope to work with the city to acquire another property for the next student housing rehabilitation effort.