03/15/07 — Spring break turns into house work

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Spring break turns into house work

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 15, 2007 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mikala Carson is giving up her spring break from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., to help build a house for somebody she doesn't know.

She and 10 other students decided to exchange fun at the beach to work on several projects, including the second Mount Olive house being built by Habitat for Humanity of Goldsboro and Wayne County.

She is glad to be escaping one fact of college life in the Northeast -- the weather.

"It was getting nice when we left. It was up to 25 degrees," Miss Carson said while she and Vicki Puglisi painted kitchen cabinets outside the house on Main Street in Mount Olive that will soon be the home of Gregorio Solis-Vega and Maria Diaz.

"Nice for us is about 40 (degrees)," Miss Carson added.

The students arrived Saturday night after a 15-hour ride and still made it to church Sunday morning, filling an entire pew at Goldsboro's First Baptist Church.

They won't miss out on spring break altogether, though. One of the students, Jared Cave, has an aunt and uncle who live in Wilmington. They will host the group for the day Thursday. And after a day at the beach and dinner, the crew will return for more work Friday in Mount Olive.

Cave is the only male student on the trip, but that doesn't bother him. He is used to it. The ratio at the college is three women to one man. He is studying to be a youth minister, and in the ministry program, the ratio is seven women to one man.

"I will be a youth minister, with an outdoor education minor. I'm involved in a ministry that takes groups camping for 12 days," he said.

Jim Bagley is one of the two adults who accompanied the group. He is the school's assistant director of the physical plant. All new construction comes under his supervision.

Not as many new Habitat houses can go up in Massachusettes as they do in Wayne County because of finances, he said. Construction is expensive in the Northeast, and the Wenham area is well-developed, he said.

"We have plenty of volunteers, but finding an odd lot is hard, and we're in competition with developers," he said. "It's a rural area, but it's pretty much built up."

The other adult chaperone, Bruce Heisey, does the electrical work at the school.

While Bagley supervised the students in Mount Olive, Heisey spent the day Tuesday wiring the new Habitat office for telephone and Internet service with two other students.

When the wiring is done, Wayne Electric will inspect the job.

The new Habitat office will open some time within the next two weeks at 131 E. Walnut St., Goldsboro.