Florida Construction Technology Students Build Habitat Home

The Seminole Ridge High School Construction Academy recently built a Habitat for Humanity home as part of their construction trades training program. The four-year program is a choice elective at the Seminole Ridge High School. 150 students from the Construction Academy performed the construction work, which was supervised by project manager David Porter. Porter volunteered for the task, and while it was certainly rewarding, it wasn’t always easy.

According to Porter, “lot of these kids are deer in the headlights when the project starts because they’re so green and fresh.” Some students are more enthusiastic than others, “You’ll get about 70 percent kids who want to be there and want to learn and the other kids aren’t as prepared and maybe shouldn’t be there,” Porter says.

Most students join the Construction Academy to help their careers, but some are also interested in helping others. 18-year-old Seminole Ridge senior Ron Muscarella says that, “I really enjoy bettering someone else’s life. It’s a really labor-intensive program, but I’ve learned how to hang drywall and build a house from scratch.”

Students have no idea what the finished project will look like when they are going into it. The current project has “four detached modules separated by all this floor space,” according to Porter. “When we finally put the house together and it’s fully assembled and they meet the family,” his students are “like kids at Christmas, just beaming from ear to ear.”

Martin Bixler III, director of construction for the Construction Academy, says that this is the program’s third habitat home. The program has really evolved since it first began building for Habitat for Humanity. “The process is much smoother now,” Bixler says, “the first two homes we had problems with waste — buying too many materials, damaging materials during installation. But those were just growing pains.”

When finished, this a three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,206-square-foot home will go to Carolyn Tirado and her two sons. The family is eager to vacate the cramped two-bedroom apartment in Lake Worth. Tirado, a holistic coordinator at the Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches and full-time student at Palm Beach State College, says that her family is “super excited,” because their new home is “a whole lot bigger than where we live now…I can’t believe it’s almost here!”


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