Henrico students building their own classroom: 'You don't have to go to college to be successful'

Posted at 8:12 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 08:12:46-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A house under construction is really a classroom.

“You don't have classrooms like this," ACE Electrical Instructor Willie Cline said. “Educating today is different than 20 years ago."

It is the perfect place for students like Highland Springs High School senior Caleb Kirk.

"Me personally, in the classroom there's only so much you can learn,” Caleb said. “Out here, hands on, I learn better. I think all the other students here learn better."

These students are part of the Advanced Career Education (ACE) Center at Highland Springs High School.

More than 50 faculty and staff provide technical opportunities for students from all nine Henrico County high schools.

That’s preparing them for employment and further education, including apprenticeships.

"Show them how to wire something or how to plumb, or how to use the HVAC, or lay brick," Cline said. “And then to see them get that and take that skill somewhere and get jobs right our of school. That's phenomenal. You don't have to go to college to be successful, but you do have to have an education."

The staff and students build homes from the ground up.

"And then the house is sold," Cline said. “When the house is sold, then it goes back into purchasing more property for students to be able to learn again. At 17, 18 years old, these young people are learning so many trades that benefit them in the future."

"It's just the (satisfaction) of you did it,” Caleb said. “And then when you're done you can step back and be like I made that light turn on and this and that."

Building houses is building futures and Building Better Minds.

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