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Turner High School students build homes for homework

Posted: 4:42 PM, Jan 20, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-20 18:20:15-05

In Kansas City, Kansas, Turner High School students are getting instruction on construction as they learn outside the classroom walls and build walls of their own, literally.

There are about 40 students a part of Scott Hughes' building trades class, and for the past two years, they’ve been building a new home.

“The school, they believed in equipping and training students for a long time, and we use the house as a method to expose them to all sorts of trades, we bring in contractors,” Hughes said.

Principal Alan Penrose says every two years students build a new house, from start to finish.

“From digging a foundation, all the way through from every step to finish the house and put it on the market,” Penrose said.

It’s an opportunity to bring math and science classes to real life.

“So what was on a page in geometry is now the rafters, now the measurements or where the cabinets go and I think it takes math and brings it alive and it's very specific to a real life job,” he said.

Students in the program not only get high school credit, but certification credit from Kansas City Kansas Community College.

“It gives them a jump start on that degree if they want to go that direction,” Penrose said.

“They also get an NCCER certification which is a trade specific certification so our students who need to get straight into the job market go there with not only the skill of working for two years on building a house, but also they have a recognized certification to help them in the process.”

For senior, Luke Ramirez, it’s one step close to his future career.

“I was like ‘wow, I didn't know we had a class like this,’ and I got real into it after our first year in this and I came back to it my senior year because I want to start a career in carpeting,” he said.

Senior Christina Emert, the only woman in the class, says being a part of this program is bigger than building a new home.

“Because there aren't a whole lot of females, it makes me want to get out there and show that females can do a lot more than what we normally do,” Emert said. “I want to branch out and do things that aren't really known for women.”

She says it’s an empowering feeling seeing the work she and her classmates do from start to finish.

“A family is going to make a home in here,” she said. “I think that's really awesome to see like how it went from nothing and now it's going to be a family's home for years and years to come.”

Over the years, five houses have been built, and they will keep building more in the future.

Hughes says it’s a great feeling seeing students come together, to work as team and get hands on experience.

“To see them work together and work through problems and go from not knowing much to anything at all, to really being able to do stuff on their own,” Hughes said. “It’s very rewarding.”  

Students do work with professional contractors throughout the project.

The house, located at 5311 Lakewood St. in Kansas City, Kansas will be put on the market in the beginning of February.

It’ll be listed for roughly $219,500.

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Rae Daniel can be reached at  Rae.Daniel@KSHB.com.

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