Bruce Munger, teacher at Mount Desert High, recognized early on that many students at the school could benefit from a higher degree of technological education. As an educator, Munger embraces a learner-centered approach and sought to partner with Hancock County Habitat for Humanity to offer a “Habitat” class to its students.
At the beginning of the course, Habitat Executive Director Kelley Ellsworth, provides an overview of Habitat’s mission in Hancock County and describes how the class is contributing to its “home and hope-building” mission. The partnership not only promotes the understanding of technology and trades, but it also instills a spirit of volunteerism in the students, giving students a broader perspective.
Once students master the basics of carpentry, the Habitat class begins the goal-oriented process of building the wall panels. The construction generally takes most of the Spring semester with students mastering problem solving under the outstanding instruction and guidance provided by Bruce. At the conclusion of the process (once the panels have been delivered to our project site) we find year after year they are always accurate! In fact, Machias Savings Bank recently recognized the success of the partnership by providing Habitat with a grant to purchase the necessary building materials! 2015 marks the seventh year of the partnership and the eighth set of panels constructed.
Following several successful years of building panels, in 2010 we exported this concept to Sumner Memorial High School, where their Construction class is building engineered roof trusses. John Wells, the primary advanced construction technology teacher, works to build a template where trusses are then mass-produced. The key piece of equipment is a 10,000 hydraulic press which is used to press gang-nail plates into the wood. The Maine Community Foundation, through a private charitable foundation, awarded Habitat a grant to purchase this critical piece of equipment. Sumner is completed their fourth set of roof trusses this past year for our Sedgwick project.