THE HOUSE THAT THE KOMETS BUILT
One of the concepts that is engrained into society is that once a student graduates high school, they must go to a four-year college and obtain a bachelor’s degree to find success. While a higher level of learning is beneficial to some graduate’s potential career choice, other jobs simply require a higher level of experience which can open their own doors to bigger and better things.
With a strong need for trade jobs, experience in the construction field is a must and the sooner a potential laborer can gain experience, the more likely they are to succeed. The Construction Technology class at Kasson-Mantorville High School gives students that early opportunity for such experience.
“Almost more than ever, it’s just getting [the students] out in the field and getting them some skills,” K-M teacher Aaron Davis said of the course. “Everybody’s itching for laborers and getting the kids out into the field and having them do these things with construction helps them get a leg up if this is the career they choose to pursue.”
Construction Technology at K-M consists of two aspects of learning. Inside the classroom, Davis teaches his students about some of the basics such as building codes and planning on their final project — a house located near Prairie Meadows in Kasson. Once the students hop into the bus, the other half of the class is spent putting together the home.
“I know the students want to get out of the classroom and get building,” Davis said. “We try to do a minimal amount in the classroom, but it’s more about establishing a foundation. A majority of the learning that happens here happens out at the house. We try to keep a lot of it and gaining that knowledge portion as we’re out there.”
Davis says that the class helps gives students a taste of what being on a construction site is like. While some may be pursuing a career in construction, there’s also a portion of the class that has building things as an interest and may use the class as a foundation for future life skills that will help them once the build a home or just want to do simple home repairs.
Either way, the foundation that is laid in his class is something that Davis will hope will lead all of his students to bigger and better things.
“I tell them that the reason we’re in the classroom to do some of these things is that I don’t want them to be just a laborer,” Davis said. “I want to teach them some of these things that can make them a contractor or builder because you can make minimum wage when someone tells you what to do, but if you can go out there and anticipate and know things that are a little more complex, it only helps you out.”
Overall, the Construction Technology class has been a huge boost to not only the students involved, but to the community as well. In addition to building a home, students in previous years have also embarked on other projects such as new bathrooms in the first aid station at the Dodge County Fairgrounds, a new building at the gun club and a well house west of the K-M baseball stadium.
However, it’s the house building experience that makes this class truly unique.
“It’s good for the kids and I think it gives exposure to the school and the district,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of schools where this class might have them build a shed or a wall, but it really doesn’t put it together in a building. It’s a program where there are too many schools that don’t have this and it’s something unusual that students can get an experience that they wouldn’t get normally.”