Grade 11 students at Harrison Trimble High School in Moncton had a unique opportunity to build a house as a school project this year.
“The students took English in the morning, jumped on a bus, came to the work site and the bus picked em up again at 3 o’clock,” said teacher and project manager Robert Brockbank
Brockbank, who’s not only a teacher but also a licensed carpenter, thought his class needed a bigger challenge then building sheds so for this year, he decided they could help him build a house.
On April 18, work on the house started.
“Having 22 students on a house is a lot of work. making sure everyone was organized,” Brockbank added.
With the school year now over, Brockbank has hired some of those students for the summer to help him finish what they started.
Homeowner and former Trimble High teacher Julie Schell, who has been working with Brockbank on this project for three years, said it’s a very gratifying experience for all involved.
“The experience has been multi-fold in terms of learning the actual skills of construction, but learning the skill of collaboration and starting over, persistence, resilience, grit; all those good things kids need to learn, and they’ve learnt them on site for sure,” Schell said.
Each student involved is also taking something away from the project.
“It’s not like your doing it for fun, you’re doing it for someone,” said Curtis Leger.
“Not every high school student is given this opportunity, you know, and for sure I wanted to take advantage of that, and you know, see what i can do,” added Ryan Addad.
Luciano Santucci said: “To say that at the end of the day, I built that, I built that, I’m proud to say, I built that.”
For Kent Ivany, the experience has more meaning as he plans on pursuing a career in civil engineering.
“I came here so I’d be able to learn how to build it before I knew how to design it, so I can think about any flaws that would come with design, instead of just sitting at a desk and doing it all mathematically,” Ivany said.
Brockbank said the project gave the students the opportunity to learn skills they can take beyond high school.
“They got real world experience and they see the reality of going to a job site, like packing lumber from the road to the house, and everything that’s involved in building a house,” Brockbank said.