PGCPS unveils student built house in Clinton

PGCPS unveils student built house in Clinton (ABC7)

Students in Prince George’s County are stepping out of the classroom to showcase their construction and interior design skills.

"It's one thing to work on electricity, or plumbing, or masonry in a classroom, it's a whole other thing to actually build a house," said Dr. Kevin Maxwell, CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools.

On Thursday morning, the students showed off their hard work and unveiled this year’s student built house. Since September, the kids put their blood, sweat and tears into helping build a house in Clinton.

"I put the joists in to make the first floor and I helped put the walls up," said Peter Fabenjo, a senior at Bladensburg High School who is looking to pursue a career in Engineering.

"We went downstairs and did the wiring in the air ducts," said John Philip, who is also set to graduate.

Every step of the way, from building to interior design, students in the county pitched in. It's part of the Foundation for Applied Construction Technology for Students Program, better known as FACTS.

"They do some of their practice work inside the classroom and then when they come out here they actually get to do it hands on," said Jim Palomaki, on-site coordinator, FACTS Student Built House.

Standing next to skilled tradesmen, the students helped build the 4-bedroom, 2.5 bath Colonial, which is now on the market for $459,000.

The months-long experience gave the kids hands-on experience, but it also helped them learn time management and team building.

"I feel like I can drive by here and look at the house and reminisce that, oh my gosh I helped build this, along with the other students in Prince George’s County," said Arnold Semilla, a senior at Potomac High School.

It's not a coincidence the home sits on Student Drive. Over the years, students helped build every home in the cul-de-sac. This year’s marks the 41st student built house.

On Thursday, during a dedication ceremony, students also walked away with scholarships and a possible career path.

“It’s kind of neat to see how the kids have gone from afraid of using the tools to working out in the actual commercial working field, said Palomaki, who added former students who have since graduated often stop by the construction site to speak with the current students.

The program is bringing to life lessons that are learned in the classroom, and it’s giving kids a sense of accomplishment.

"Students are building houses, and that's pretty cool," Philip said.

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