02/24/10 — Southern Wayne students get help on Habitat house

View Archive

Southern Wayne students get help on Habitat house

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on February 24, 2010 1:46 PM

There's a house going up next to Southern Wayne High School, a future Habitat for Humanity home that 80 students at the school have been working on.

John Gerken runs the school's Construction Academy, which he said he developed with help of the school's principal, Dr. John Boldt.

"This (house) is the cornerstone of our Construction Academy here," Gerken said.

Other districts have similar programs, but Gerken gave credit for bringing the idea to Wayne County to Dr. Sandra McCullen. Mrs. McCullen is a county commissioner and an associate superintendent with the Wayne County Schools.

Mrs. McCullen has promoted the concept of "academy"-type programs that impart learnable skills, like building a home.

The program attracted 80 students, Gerken said, who are all playing hands-on roles.

"We thought building a house was the best way to teach them," Gerken said. "We started back in September doing the layout of the foundation and the floor."

On Thursday, Lowe's of Goldsboro, which is the primary sponsor of the house, hosted its own "build day," where employees chose to use their days off to help build the home.

Store Manager Angie Dixon-Williams was one of the six Lowe's employees who took a day off to build on the home.

"We just thought that it's a great project overall, they're here because they want to be here today," Mrs. Dixon-Williams said.

Habitat for Humanity employee Melanio Easto said that the students who observed the Lowe's workers motivated them.

"I think the students were saying, 'Who are these people, what's going on?' So I think they worked a little bit faster today, and produced a little more" to impress their audience, Mrs. Easto said.