PGCPS holds ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony for stu­dent-built house in Clin­ton

Ch­e­sa­peake cus­tom 4,400 square ft. home to go on sale for $425,000

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com

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.”

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES

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...

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