Students in Andy Fuhs’ Building Construction Class are learning more than a trade each morning when they show up to the job site.
They been working on remodeling the outside of the Catalyst Charter School located on South Shawano Street near the Washington Center.
Many community members have noticed the progress of their work on the building.
“Students were so excited by the opportunity, many show up to work before their scheduled 8a.m. start time,” said New London High School Principal Danielle Sievert.
Tristin Fuerst, a senior in the class, reports more than half the kids show up early every day.
“For most of us, it’s our favorite class of the day,” said Fuerst. “It’s much better being out on the job site learning than it is being in a classroom,” he added.
District Administrator Dr. Kathleen Gwidt said, “Projects like this help students connect classroom learning to the real world. Teachers are always working to generate new ways to involve students in their learning.”
So far this semester, they have put in considerable hours working at the Catalyst Academy and they helped build mud pits for the Warrior Princess Mud Run at Mosquito Hill Nature Center.
The facelift they are doing at the academy includes new siding, and incorporating a new storage area for bicycles underneath the building. Students helped tear off the old siding and completed the prep work for new siding. They currently are working on closing in the new siding.
“They all take turns doing various jobs so they have the opportunity to learn it,” said Instructor Andy Fuhs.
According to Fuerst, the class goes beyond just teaching students a valuable trade.
“It’s all about the teamwork,” said Fuerst. “Everybody works together to get the job done.” He added.
“I’ve had Mr. Fuhs in other classes since my sophomore year. He’s always positive and easy to approach with questions,” said Fuerst. “This class is the best part of my day, and I’m learning something that’s going to benefit me later on in life,” he added.
Fuhs sees many former students out in the community who remember having him in class. “They all seem to remember the out of the ordinary projects, the ones that they had to go out and do, build or fix,” he said.
“The students sure enjoy learning this way. They feel they are not just being told the way it is, rather they are part of it,” said Fuhs.
When each project is completed, they look back and evaluate it.
A benefit to projects like the one at the Catalyst Academy is that it more visible, and community members often give students feedback during the project.
“We’re getting a lot of people in the community telling us it’s looking nice,” said Fuerst. “That makes us feel good about it.”
As far as Fuhs is concerned, he likes seeing progress on each project and job site, but what he enjoys most is seeing the progress of his students.
“As an instructor I hope they learn many skills they will use after high school, but the skills I hope they take from most, is feeling that sense of being part of something in their community,” said Fuhs.