Guilford students build walls for Habitat home

It is hard to find a better orientation than students are getting in the Orientation to Construction class at Guilford High School. They are building walls for a new Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity home.

Mark Anderson, who teaches the class, said the students have prepped all year to build 29 wall panels for the three bedroom, 1½ bathroom Habitat home.

Students are assembling the walls on a special 20-foot-by-10-foot table they built in the wood shop lab at Guilford. The modern wood shop — which used to be the weight room at the school — is part of $20 million in improvements at Guilford. The improvements are part of a larger 10-year, $250 million facilities plan for the Rockford Public Schools.

Students at Guilford High School are building walls for a Habitat for Humanity home.

Students at Guilford High School are building walls for a Habitat for Humanity home.

The connection between RPS 205 and Habitat was made nearly two years ago by Anderson and Keri Nelson, executive director of the local Habitat organization. Nelson was a member of an Academy Support Team at Guilford. The ASTs are Alignment Rockford teams, made up of local business and non-profit volunteers who support career academies and assist in project-based learning.

For students interested in construction, actually building a house is the ultimate in project-based learning. The Habitat house will be framed on Saturday, May 7. The students will be invited.

One of the students is Artan Ballazhi, a junior in the EMITT (Engineering, Manufacturing, Industrial and Trades Technology) Academy at Guilford. He’s taking the construction orientation class to bolster the education he has already received at home. Since the seventh grade, Artan has been working alongside his dad, who is a builder. This winter, they have been driving to Tipton, Iowa, on the weekends to build a home. Even though Artan already has the construction skills other students are learning, the class at Guilford gives him a taste of being a leader on a crew.

It’s a great head start—just like the Habitat home will give one fortunate family.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


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