BOCES students assist Habitat for Humanity

Submitted photoFrom left, Casey Lefever of Newfane, teacher Matt Anastasi, Robert Morehouse of Medina and Kim Haas of Lockport work on a Habitat for Humanity house.

MEDINA — Building trades teacher Matt Anastasi of Orleans/Niagara BOCES was approached last year by Habitat for Humanity to work with them on building modular homes.

Since Anastasi was already giving his Orleans Career and Technical Education Center students various skills to prepare them for a career in the construction field, he thought the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“Habitat for Humanity’s mission is such an amazing one as far as transforming families’ lives through affordable home ownership, so it’s a real honor for me and my students to be able to help them with that,” he said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic curtailing class trips, such as visiting a building site, the opportunity to build the house at the center turned out to be very beneficial especially for this school year.

“The plan is to build a house every school year with the specifications given to us by Habitat for Humanity,” Anastasi said.

The 1,366-square-foot modular home is built from the ground up and the electricity/electronics program gets a lesson in wiring the house as well.

“Thanks to our administration and maintenance team, we have a designated space in our classroom to work on it and my students are really able to see what is entailed in building a house and also the inspection process as well,” Anastasi said.

Both the junior and senior classes are working during class time to get the house completed by the spring.

“The seniors are handling the more detailed aspects of the house like the kitchen, bathroom, cabinets and countertops,” Anastasi said. “The juniors are working on the bedrooms, closets and sheds since they are just starting to learn about tools and techniques.

“It has also become a little competitive with the juniors asking what the seniors completed that day and wanting to top their efforts,” he said. “I am also fortunate that some of my seniors will stay for the other half of the day to be peer-mentors to the juniors. It is just awesome the dedication I am seeing and the sense of pride.”

Student Kim Haas said she’s really enjoying the class, but the process of building the house has made her a little nervous. “Knowing that someone will be living here and this will be their home makes me want to do my best and make it perfect for them,” she said.

Anastasi said, “An inspection company from Pennsylvania has been coming to our classroom to see that we are following code and they are very impressed with the students’ hard work,” They have driven 200 miles each time for the four inspections as we move on to the next layer of completion. Their inspector said he was so impressed with the students’ work he said he would buy the house himself. That is very gratifying as a teacher that the students have been able to pass every one of those inspections with flying colors and get that kind of validation.“

I am really proud of them.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1