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Grand Island Senior High students construct home for Habitat for Humanity

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 11:15 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Senior High School construction students were working on a big project Friday. The students were working on constructing a home as part of the Academy of Technical Sciences and also for a special cause.

The senior high students were building an approximately 1,000-square-foot home for a Habitat for Humanity family.

Twenty-six students started working at the site with only a hole dug in the ground at the start of the 2021-22 school year. The young workers installed the foundation, the plywood for the floors and were last putting together the framing for the walls.

Isreal Diaz, a senior Grand Island Senior High and part of the academy, had been helping build the home since the beginning.

“These guys are really out here doing the best they could and they’re actually improving more from the first day, from just pouring footings, to framing the house,” Diaz said. “Pretty soon we’re going to add a roof so, yeah, it’s pretty nice.”

Diaz said his interest in skilled labor came from his dad who owned a cement pouring business. He noted he had been giving his father a helping hand with his project since he was 12 years old.

Brett Forsman, construction instructor for GIPS Career Pathway Institute, worked alongside these students and said, giving the kids the opportunity to work on a home out in the field was especially important at the time.

“We have a huge shortage of the skilled trade and what we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to close that skills gap and to get students out on an actual job site and get that real-world experience,” Forsman said. “It’s going to better prepare them for their next steps.”

Forsman continued to say that besides items like HVAC, heating and electric, the students were doing all of the work themselves. The high schoolers were planned to watch and learn from the professionals while they installed the other pieces to the home.

Diaz admitted, building the house for Habitat for Humanity tugged at his heart strings.

“It’s an awesome experience,” he said. “I love helping out people and I really hope they love this house right here. And hopefully I get to do more projects like this.”

The students began construction in August with morning and afternoon shifts a few hours per week. Forsman said they expected to make the final touches on the home sometime in March 2022.

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