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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Students learn trade skills

Friday, August 31, 2007

(left to right) Sam "Chief" Tiefel, of Clay City High School, Instructor Rod Clarke, Jordan Wheeler, Mercedes Ward and Kennon Douglas, of Northview High School, work on the foundation of the newest Building Trades house. CC Brackman photo
The Clay Community School Corporation has an intense one or two-year program that is offered, Clay Building Trades Training Corporation.

This program was started in 1974, by Bill Brown at the urging of residents who felt that there was a need for skilled tradesmen. They felt this kind of a program would benefit the community.

Students of the program build one house per school year, and they do most of the work.

"If students are interested in participating in the program, they have classes that they need to take prior to their junior year," Instructor Dan Dragon said. "Construction processes, and construction systems should be completed before joining the program to give students a good idea of some of the basics."

According to Dragon, the students don't build custom homes, they build more spec homes, with the average price range near $170,000.

Those interested in purchasing a home can be put on a waiting list. When the home is completed, we will contact those interested.

"The program has turned out many local craftsmen who have continued on in the business. Some have gone on to study under master craftsmen, while others have sweated their way to success through sheer grit and hard work." Dragon said. "We are very proud of our students."

Dragon said that the corporation began giving away awards in 1981 to two deserving students. One award, the Brown award, is given to two juniors. While the other award, The Sherer award is given to two seniors. The awards are given to those students who demonstrate skill, leadership and attitude.

"We hope to continue this program for many years," Dragon said. "However, with the graduation requirements, finding an opportunity for these students to spend half a day in this program is getting harder to do."

Instructor Rod Clarke agrees with Dragon.

"This program is very important to this area," Clarke said. "I even hired several students this past summer to help with some remodeling jobs."

Seniors who've been in the program for one year were already on site at the new home, and enjoying knowing what they were doing this year.

"I roofed this summer," Mercedes Ward said.

"I did drywall work," Kennon Douglas said.

They were both delighted that what they had learned last year could be turned into a money-making job opportunity.

"The best thing you can learn through this program is that there are some really great kids out there," Dragon said.

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