110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Construction site is on high-school campus
posted Dec 17, 2012 - 5:39:39am
When contractor Greg Gebbon returned to teaching after 28 years in private industry, he had a goal in mind. He wanted to teach kids skills they could apply throughout their lives.
“I really enjoy teaching,” Gebbon said.
Gebbon teaches in DeLand High School’s Academy of Building Construction. It’s a career academy intended to equip students with skills for jobs and for more education after high school.
“We do real things in this class: real block work, real trim work, wiring, cabinetmaking,” Gebbon said.
In the classroom, students learn math, computer and communication skills. Gebbon starts the class period with a rundown of what each crew member will do. Then, it’s time to put the classroom learning into action.
“Let’s go,” he said. “We’ve got work to do.”
When The Beacon visited the construction site Dec. 13, the students were mounting rafters for the home’s roof.
The juniors and seniors had already laid out the design and framed the house.
The students worked together just like any crew of employees would.
Junior Brittany Hogan is the only female student in the group. She doesn’t mind; she said everyone in the program gets along and helps one another.
“I like learning how to use all the tools,” Hogan said. “And, Mr. Gebbon says I can hammer better than the guys.”
Senior Zachary McGee enjoys the program because the classes are different from DeLand High’s traditional curriculum. McGee is planning a career in graphic design. He said he is sure the skills and habits he’s learned through the building academy will be applicable in his future.
“I’m learning how to design and build things,” McGee said. “Plus, I’ll know how to fix things.”
The students do most of the work on the house, but Gebbon is close by, overseeing and stepping in to help when needed.
“I’m here for the kids, but they work hard. They really elevate this program,” Gebbon said.
The class is all smiles while they work on the roof of “their” house. Once the house is finished, it will be taken apart and rebuilt again by an upcoming class. Several classes of students can learn construction skills this way, without the need to buy materials over and over.
Gebbon is proud of his students and their dedication to this project.
“These are good kids,” he said.
Some of the students have applied what they are learning in school to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity.
For more information about the Academy of Building Construction at DeLand High School, call Marilyn Smith at 386-822-6909, ext. 23355, or Steve Michaels at 386-822-6909, ext. 23363.
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