A construction project at a local high school is giving its students a chance to leave a lasting impression.
Students in the specialized construction course at Hammarskjold High School spent Tuesday morning laying the concrete to create a patio as part of a school beautification project.
The experience of building the patio, which is located at the front of the school, gives students a small taste of the construction industry. At least one student involved with the project says he would like to make a living in the construction industry.
“I’m actually learning stuff instead of being in a class. I’m finding the whole experience a lot of fun and now after I graduate high school I want to go into the trades and I’ve already learned some,” said Grade 11 student R.J. Samas.
“I didn’t think we we're actually going to do something like this. I thought maybe we would just go out and do some planning but we’re actually getting hands-on.”
It was important to teacher and technology chair Lou Kok for the students to learn the complete process in completing a project.
Kok said the class, which is at full-capacity, is designed to emulate real-world application. Another real-world project will send students to the Boys and Girls Club in the former Forest Park School building next week.
“It helps them see it’s not just a theoretical course,” Kok said.
“You have to get a grip, and some of them are shell-shocked that action is taking place and there’s no time to pause and think about it.”
Hammarskjold principal Jenny Lamb came up with the idea to construct the patio, and thought it would be ideal for students to be involved with its design and construction.
The hope for the class, which has students from other city high schools enrolled, is to show students the time and preparation required to work in construction.
Kok said while there is a trade shortage, many employers prefer not to hire younger workers because of a lack of maturity or preparation that many believe is potentially harmful to a business.
“Skilled trades pay well, but they simply are not going to take people that aren’t ready,. There is too much cost and danger. "
The construction class has been a long-fixture at Hammarskjold, and Kok has spent the past four years of his 17-year teaching career working at the school.
The school received cooperation and assistance from outside entities to make the project happened.
Lafarge and Harris-Rebar provided materials to construct the patio, and the local custodians union allowed the students to do the work.
The end result of the project will see planters and benches to create an outdoor meeting and relaxation point in front of the building.
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