PGCPS holds dedication ceremony for student-built house in Clinton
Chesapeake custom 4,400 square ft. home to go on sale for $425,000
Four bedrooms with ceiling fans and bathrooms in each one, sitting room in the master bedroom, powder room, modern recessed lighting, hardwood flooring throughout the first floor with an office space, mantle fireplace with HDMI ready cables for widescreen entertainment, security system that can be turned on or off using a cell phone, partially finished basement big enough to accommodate an arcade plus a family movie theater — these are just some of the features found inside of the new 4,400-square foot custom Chesapeake home at 8201 Student Dr. in Clinton.
The street is named in honor of a unique group of students from Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) who have participated in the Foundation for Applied Construction Technology for Students (FACTS) program. This year’s home is the district’s 40th student-built house where students got an opportunity to showcase their skills during a special unveiling.
Recognizing the work and contributions from students, staff and business partners affiliated with the FACTS program, PGCPS and the board of education held a dedication ceremony on May 5 in Clinton. Dozens of teachers received certificates while students were presented with scholarships for their key role in carpentry, masonry, electrical work, plumbing, drafting/CAD, HVAC, interior design and computer networking.
“This is wonderful,” said FACTS Coordinator Margy Edsall, who is also an architecture and design coordinator. “This is real-world, applied knowledge and [the students] love it and so that has shown on their resumes. It makes me really proud that they’re proud.”
FACTS is a nonprofit organization, based in Upper
Marlboro, whose mission is to promote and advance construction and technology education in PGCPS; making the instruction and training more practical and meaningful for students; and raise the standards of career and technology education while assisting in the development of such programs to be responsive to the needs of business, according to the GuideStar website.
FACTS board members are comprised of various industries needed to build and sell the house including construction, landscaping, real estate and residential housing developers. Patricia Long, broker and CEO of Keller Williams Preferred Properties, said student-built homes are the easiest to sell and attract buyers to because of the quality that students and instructors put into them.
“I’ve been affiliated with the organization for over 20 years and every year, I’m amazed with what the students accomplish,” said Patricia Long, a FACTS board member. “I get to see lots of houses and I can tell you that the houses the students build are the most well-made houses that I’ve seen in all of my broker experience.”
Prince George’s County Board of Education Member Curtis Valentine said the quality and workmanship of student-built homes is a reflection of hard work from educators, parents and students.
“With other careers, it’s kind of hard to see things as a tangible outcome. But when you see the home and understand that a family is going to live in and raise kids in this home that [the students helped build], it’s pretty amazing,” Valentine said.
Speaking of pretty amazing, Laurel High School senior Kofi Ansah-Brew received top honors at the dedication ceremony. He was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for his excellence in information technology through the school’s Cisco Networking Academy.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to come and have my students do the wiring of the internet service, phone service [and] phone security wiring,” said Michael Hines, a Cisco Academy instructor at Laurel High, who has been involved with the student house project for about 16 years. “You have to try and engage them and let them know you care. They don’t necessarily care how much you know about the subject until they know that you really care for them and want them to learn. … I try to let them know that I want them to succeed. When they feel that, it’s them. It’s no longer me; it’s them.”
Hines said his students learn a lot about the workforce, especially the importance of collaboration and getting along with others.
“What I learned was that if you want to work in this IT field, you have to learn how to be collaborative and work in a team,” said Brew, who plans on studying computer engineering at the University of Maryland College Park. “I actually mentioned that to the FACTS committee when I was writing my essay that I really appreciate how the leaders who came in to teach us and to implement this project. They didn’t just hold our hands; they said, ‘OK, get in groups. We want you to do this. Everyone separate and do that.’ We all worked together in a collaborative effort so I really liked that part of the project.”
“Our job is to support our kids and those kids are students who want to achieve and move on and do bigger and better things,” Laurel High School Principal Dwayne Jones said. “I know the quality of students that we have so this is not surprising. We’ve gotten the top award the last three years running so that means there are good things coming out of Laurel High School.”
Other students who received scholarships included Suitland High School senior Andrew Bryant. Bryant was one of two students awarded a $700 scholarship for his outstanding work in Suitland’s electrical program.
For Bryant, he said participating in the student house project was a great experience and is something he can’t wait to do again.
“We did the three-way switches, the two-way switches, ceiling fans, light fixtures— anything that you see inside of the house that’s lit up, we did it,” said Bryant. “I just like electrical and as you can see, it really paid off. It’s an amazing feeling [to know I was a part of] something that’s going to go on the market and sell for almost half a million. … I did it with a lot of my peers and workers and learning from higher-ups and just getting different skills and qualities that book work can’t teach you. You’ve got to be able to get out there in the field and experience it yourself so I loved it. … It’s something I definitely want to pursue.”
Now that the dedication ceremony is over, the 2016 FACTS student-built house will go on the market for $425,000, according to a PGCPS press release.
“I’m certain we’ll get it sold very soon,” Long said.
As the head of PGCPS, school CEO Kevin Maxwell said the house is a real, concrete example of what it means to be college and career ready.
“I think the project is fantastic. It’s been going on a long time,” Maxwell said. “You have kids who are going to come out of here as masons, as carpenters, as HVAC folks, as architects, as engineers — this has everything. It gives our students real, practical hands-on skills to make them more valuable in the workplace upon graduation.”
Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell speaks to a crowd of students, staff, teachers and local residents on May 5 during a dedication ceremony to unveil the Foundation for Applied Construction Technology for Students (FACTS) program’s 40th student built house in Clinton. Board of Education members Sonya Williams and Curtis Valentine were also at the ceremony along with representatives from the FACTS board, College and Career Readiness and Innovative Programs Department and various community businesses.