Home Schooling

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:46

    Soon-to-be graduates of the Sussex County Technical School's carpentry shop are learning one last lesson before the school year ends: The satisfaction that comes from helping others. Four seniors in Sussex Tech's carpentry shop helped to build a house in Franklin for Habitat for Humanity, one of their last projects at the high school. The house on Rutherford Avenue recently got eight sections of wall frame, thanks to the students, who built them at the school. Joe Hickey and Rob Smith, both of Ogdensburg, Tymon Hoppe of Sparta and Jennifer Demarest of Lafayette, built the frames over about a week during their shop classes. "This has given us more experience n real world experience," said Smith. This isn't the first time Sussex Tech students have taken on community projects. Carpentry students built an entire house in Sparta for Habitat for Humanity several years ago, as well as bunkhouses for the YMCA in Stillwater and for a camp in Rockaway, a two-story barn and the county Board of Education building next door to the school. "If you're driving through the county, you'll see a lot of things we've done," said Walt Gasiorek, carpentry instructor at the school. "We've worked for just about every town in the county." When Habitat for Humanity asked for help with the house in Franklin, Gasiorek said they were happy to comply. However, shifts in the school-day schedule have prevented the students from going to the Franklin job site so the students offered to build the walls at the school and have them transported to the site. Dick Plog, a board member for Habitat for Humanity of Sussex County, said the walls were transported last week and put on the foundation decking that had been built by other volunteers. This will be the sixth house built for Sussex County families by Habitat for Humanity in the 10 years that the agency has been in existence locally. For this project, Sussex Tech students joined volunteers from all walks of life to help with the house, including a large group from the Franklin Presbyterian Church. This type of project is ideal for the carpentry students, Plog said. "It gets them involved in a community project, where they get to practice what they're studyingPlog said. "Plus it gives them a chance to share in a project that's bigger than they are." Once the house is completed, Habitat for Humanity will sell it to the designated family. Habitat families all help with the construction of the home, Plog said, and they'll buy the house for the retail cost of the materials, usually about half of what the house is worth. Habitat for Humanity's goal is to help families who have a steady income, but who don't earn enough money to qualify for a standard mortgage. "It's a good way for a family to get started," said Plog, first vice president for the Sussex County group. He said the group gets volunteers from various organizations. Some people read articles in the newspaper and call to find out how they can help. Others walk past a work site and ask if they can join in. The group's biggest challenge now is to find donors of land. "We're looking for lots to be donated for our next projects," Plog said.