A slab of concrete lays on the ground—the foundation of a house. After a long two months of hard work from high school students, a family gets a new house. This year, Hockaday and St. Mark’s students have been working every Saturday together since Jan. 19 and will continue until March 30 to get the project completed.
Upper School Spanish teacher Alejandra Suarez, a core volunteer, has worked with Habitat for Humanity on four builds.
“I don’t see any other volunteers work as hard as my girls. I know the Hockaday girls work hard in school but just doing that and really building and doing their best is really incredible,” Suarez said.
Sophomore Sarah Crow became head of the Junior Habitat board this school year. Her main job is fundraising and she is currently working with donors on the logistics of their donations for the 2019 house and future donations. Coordinating the house dedication is also another part of Crow’s job.
“The builds have been going very well. It’s amazing to see how productive we are when we work together, and so gratifying to see the visual progress of the house within just a few hours of working on it,” Crow said.
Upon arriving, students split up into groups based on their interests and qualifications. Each Saturday, students get a completely different task. For example, on the first day, the students were put into groups in order to put up the bases of the walls. The next week, the new task of the students was to put up the outside walls and to hammer the foundations for the ceilings.
Gabe Bines, a sophomore at St. Mark’s, has been to every morning shift of the five builds so far.
“I really like to see the specific impact that building the house does. You get to work with the family that you are actually helping and see how it really helps them,” Bines said.
This year Habitat International added a new regulation to ensure the safety of all volunteers. The new rule states that in order to build a roof, all persons must be over 18 and be a core volunteer.
In previous years, students have built the roofs. This year, the Habitat team built the roof after the students put up the walls.
For the next weekend, students will install shingles. So far, the students have put up walls, shelves for the ceilings, and cut the windows.
“I’m always excited to see people that have not been there before, but who then fall in love with it. I’m excited about getting and spreading more awareness of the importance of Habitat and how hard it is, but how rewarding it is to see the product,” Suarez said.
Story by Julia Donovan, Staff Writer
Photo by Alejandra Suarez