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Gainesville High students work on local residents house
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Homebuilder David Bryant takes measurements before students arrive at the Washington Street site. - photo by NAT GURLEY

A Washington Street house currently under construction is giving some high school students the chance to learn important skills.

Thirty-two Gainesville High carpentry students are taking what they’ve learned in class and applying it to assist in rebuilding the single-family detached home.

“This is phenomenal real-world experience,” said Darrell Lucas, their instructor. “We can talk about it in the classroom day after day after day. Until you come out here ... and actually put it together and see how it comes together, you don’t learn.”

Alongside Lucas, the students are working under the supervision of David Bryant, of Bryant Construction.

“I’m glad to work with the kids and show them different things where they get hands-on training,” he said. “Hands-on training is better than looking at everything in a book.

“It’s been a good experience for me and for them,” Bryant added.

The home will go to a woman with disabilities who currently lives with her son. It is being built with accessibility in mind, including ramps leading into the house.

Senior Ayline Lopez said the recipients are deserving.

“They seem like very nice people,” she said.

After taking her first construction class a couple of years ago, Lopez now thinks her career will follow that route.

“I liked it because we built some little birdhouses,” she said about that first class. “I wanted to (go) more into it.”

The funding for the project comes from Gainesville’s Community Home Investment Program, through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

For the students, it’s not only a good deed but provides invaluable experience for a future job.

This is what junior Cesar Cardenas wants to do with his life.

“This is how I prefer to learn,” he said. “I’m going (into) engineering (and) study to become a mechanical engineer. This is a good little course to take for hands-on training.”

For sophomore Caleb Megtinso, it’s more about developing important skills.

“If my other plans don’t work out, this would be something I would like to do,” he said. “(The skills) would come in handy in the long run.”

Bryant and Lucas said they expect the house to be finished by the end of the year. The students will see the project through to the end. Recently, they were working on building the roof, something Lucas’ class had never experienced before.

“I think we’re missing the boat in vocational education by not having more students on every corner out here (working), whether it’s automotive or construction or whatever,” he said. “I think they’re doing good. It took us a little while to get our feet wet, to understand how you transfer what we talked about in class.”

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