Oromocto high school students give back through Habitat for Humanity

Click to play video: 'N.B. high school students pitch in to build a home for local family' N.B. high school students pitch in to build a home for local family
WATCH: Some Oromocto High School students are lending a hand in their community through Habitat for Humanity. Students helped the non-profit build a home for a local family as part of their classwork. Nathalie Sturgeon has the details.

Students in Oromocto gave a helping hand to their community through a partnership with Fredericton’s Habitat for Humanity.

Brent Rowney, a teacher with the essential skills program at Oromocto High School, says the program looks to provide practical real-world learning opportunities for students. This year, he began by reaching out to local charitable organizations.

One of those was Habitat for Humanity.

“Students who join the essential skills program typically want that hands-on experience,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “Habitat provided that 10-fold.”

Perry Kendall, CEO of Fredericton’s Habitat for Humanity, agreed the students could help with the project and brought them on board.

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The students signed on to build one shed for one of the two Oromocto-based projects. Students built the framing and the structure for the walls of the house for another project just down the street. It started with about 12 students, but the program ended up adding some other trade-based classes to the partnership, with more than 50 students contributing.

For Kendall, the benefit was two-fold.

“Having that dual benefit of having students get the opportunity to be involved in community organizations and more deeply introducing them to the trades programs is just so beneficial and exciting to see,” he said.

The framing inside the house fit perfectly, Kendall said.

Kendall said the home is now weathertight and will likely be finished before the end of summer.

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For carpentry teacher Robert Crousse, the partnership allowed students to get real-world experience and that, he said, is invaluable.

“You can study about walls and how to build them all you want, and do sheds, but to build a wall that goes to somebody, to shelter them, and will become a home means so much more,” Crousse said.

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It is the kind of project Carl Allen is proud of.

Allen worked on both the shed for the first house and helped with the framing on the second. He hopes to pursue carpentry when he finishes school.

“It felt pretty good to be a part of it because I knew it was going to a family, and it felt nice when it was all done to stand back and look at it, and see what I built,” he said.

Perry hopes to extend the project to Minto and Leo Hayes high schools next.

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