News / USA

Students Build Homes for Needy Families

Students in the Eagle Nest Construction Academy work on the foundation of a home which will house a low-income family next year.
Students in the Eagle Nest Construction Academy work on the foundation of a home which will house a low-income family next year.

Multimedia

Audio

On a sandy lot in the small, growing city of Delray Beach, Florida, seven teenagers are hammering and shoveling in the hot mid-day sun. The Atlantic High students are members of the school’s Eagle Nest Construction Academy, which builds houses for low-income families on land donated by the city.

The program is open to boys and girls in the 9th through 12th grades. They study drafting, design and construction, then use those skills to build the homes.

“They learn A to Z, then pick which they like better, then specialize in that," says Amanda Orndorff, who coordinates the program. "If they like the drafting side, they focus on that. If they like the actual building, they can focus on that.”

Student Daniel Norzea (right) and instructor Tim Sachse work together at the construction site.
Student Daniel Norzea (right) and instructor Tim Sachse work together at the construction site.

After learning the basics of safety and the fundamentals of design and building from instructor Tim Sachse, students interested in construction move with him to the work site.

“The way the program works is a stepping stone process," says Sachse, an engineer. "Construction isn’t just about hammering things together. It deals with lots of problem solving along the way and that’s probably one of those things that cannot be written in a textbook.”

About 25 students are currently working on a three-bedroom, two-bath house. Ten to 15 are on site at any one time. While on the job, they all must wear hard hats, safety glasses and heavy boots.

Senior Daniel Norzea says he and his classmates started this house in late October, building it literally from the ground up.

“It was a lot filled with grass, so we had to dig out the grass. We had to level it. Now we got through with the plumbing. We put in the footers - which is the outside area of the house - where we’ll pour the cement so we can wrap up for the summer.”

Nearby, Fladimir Celunice works on a corner of the house, where he is carefully measuring. "They all have to measure up to 12 inches. We’re pouring cement in there, and then it has to be leveled.”

Student Fladimir Celunice checks to make sure his installation is level.
Student Fladimir Celunice checks to make sure his installation is level.

Local contractors donate materials and services to the program. A local architect rendered the final plan for the house, with input from Academy students during the drafting process.  In the early stages, Daniel Norzea and a classmate took the rough blueprints to city officials.

“Every aspect we’ve learned from - the engineering aspects, measurements, what works, the building codes, zoning codes," he says. "We really learned a lot.”

About 200 students have come through the Eagle Nest program since it began five years ago. This is the second house academy students have built. It’s being constructed according to green building standards. Many of the materials - like floor boards and concrete blocks - are recycled. Students will install insulated walls, energy efficient appliances and double pane windows.

Program coordinator Amanda Orndorff says environmental considerations are a new focus for a lot of the kids.

“They’re learning the concepts in the classroom and then we’re really applying them on the job site. Even as far as teaching the kids that sometimes, it’s not about just using recycled products but a product that maybe closer to your location, because it uses less fuel and creates less waste. So that's kind of a new concept for them.”

Although many of the students sign up for the program because they want to do construction after graduation from high school, some realize the building trades are not for them, and start looking for other careers.

But others, like Daniel Norzea, are here solely for the knowledge the experience offers. “I don’t want to pay a plumber or someone to come fix my house when I know how to do it myself.”

His classmate, Shligton Estime, who plans to go into structural or civil engineering, has been in the academy program for four years. He says this year has been especially exciting.

“We’re actually building it - not just reading about it or drawing it on paper. We’re building the house.”

The house is expected to be completed and ready for a family to move in the first half of next year.

You May Like

Afghan Government: Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died in 2013

President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms reclusive Taliban leader died in 2013, but Taliban itself claim Omar is still alive More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Critics: China’s President Using Law to Tighten Grip on Power

President Xi, who has stressed importance of 'rule of law' and law-based governance, has exerted increasingly tighter grip over society since coming to office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs