Release, Loudoun County Public Schools:
Monroe Technology Center started construction on its 10th home project with a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, May 15th.
The home, at 118 Prince St. NE, Leesburg, will be completed in 18 months. It will feature 2,200 square feet of modern amenities on two floors.
In introducing the dignitaries at the event, Monroe Principal Wagner Greer noted this is actually the 11th home Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) students have constructed. (A house was built on the grounds of Broad Run High School during the 1970’s, but later removed when the campus was reconfigured.)
No matter how many houses have been built, LCPS Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III noted that certain factors have been present in each one’s construction.“For the students who are going to be building this house, please know there is a huge network of partnerships that make this possible. Without those partnerships, frankly you’d be back in a lab; building, tearing down, building, tearing down, instead of building something that someday you can show your children and say ‘I had a part in that.’ ”
Hatrick added the students were fortunate to have Monroe instructors and practicing members of the building trades working on the house with them. “You are learning from masters and you can’t put a price on that.”
Hatrick repeated a message he has stressed as his June 30th retirement approaches.
“Sometimes we take things for granted in Loudoun County and we assume that everything has always been as it is; that all the opportunities that our students have have always been here. I’m here to tell you they have not always been there. It’s been decades of elected leaders, volunteer leaders, staff and students working together who have created the excellent school system that we now have.”
School Board member Bill Fox (Leesburg District), the board’s liaison to Career & Technical Education Foundation, said the home project is practical learning at its best.
“This is really a unique and incredible program… Most of your fellow students – sitting in classrooms – when they work out a math problem or when they write an essay; it doesn’t have an impact on the outside world. This is a new wave of education, the new direction of education where we focus more on giving students the opportunity to actually make an impact on the world while they get their education.”
Career & Technical Education Foundation Chairman Cody Francis, the son of a home-builder, said students working on the house will experience a feeling those in the building trades enjoy. “You will remember working on this… for the rest of your life. I still remember every house and every project I worked on with my dad.”
Students will not only learn construction from this project, but how to manage construction by watching their teachers, Francis added.
“Like all the students at Monroe, you’re learning skills that can’t be outsourced, which is more than I can say for a lot of us in this economy,” said Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd. “You’re going to be needed. I’m an attorney and a mayor; I’m not needed at all. You guys are very essential to our future.”
“This is symbolic of beginning and completing a project that will create a home for a family; not just a house, not just a building,” said LCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Sharon Ackerman of the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is the ideal project.”