The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

From the Ground Up: Construction Undertakes School Projects

Students are accustomed to expectations of hard work in their classes. There is daily homework and difficult subject material as well as challenging tests and quizzes or long essays to write. However, seventh period Advanced Construction Technology takes commitment to a whole new level.

Students in the class spend lengthy hours working on long-term projects for the school. For example, during first semester, students walking by the area near the pizza cart saw a wooden deck take shape day by day. Principal Wynne Satterwhite asked the Advanced Construction class to do this project for the school and construction teacher Tomás Ibarra complied, eager for his students to have the chance to put their skills into action.

“[At the start of class] we have ten or fifteen minutes to gather all the tools,” senior Moises Flores said. “We usually carry blocks and bricks on a wheelbarrow. And everyone has a job. For example mainly my job is to bring all the bricks in a box and take it over. We have work stations [there].”

Once at their work stations, they fall into their tasks. According to junior Victor Macias, there are no exact dates for when they are expected to finish projects. However, the students work at a fast pace and are hoping to finish the wall and deck around the end of May.

Story continues below advertisement

Staying after school is a common occurrence for seventh period construction. When asked about the amount of work involved in the class, Moises said, “Most of the time we do stay after school. It’s rare when we don’t.”

Instead of relaxing and taking time off, the students go above and beyond class expectations, usually working until 4:45 p.m. on school days and even coming in on some Saturdays.

Other than occasional problems with materials not arriving in time for the students to work, the main challenge the class faces is enrollment. There are only four students in seventh period, and Ibarra and the construction students would prefer to have more students involved in the program.

They believe the class is important because the skills it teaches provide preparation for future construction jobs. Ibarra realizes that not all students enter college after high school and his class offers these students a chance to learn skills which will allow them to immediately obtain work. However, for other students, construction jobs provide a means to pay for college.

“I’m planning on getting [a job in construction] right now for my side job for college,” Moises said. “I can get paid better than in Jamba Juice or in a normal store at minimum wage.”

Above all, the emphasis of the class is hands-on work. Both Ibarra and the students consider it as one of the defining features of the class.

“The experience that we get here isn’t something that you could necessarily learn from opening a textbook,” Victor said. “It isn’t something that you could read [in] class and you can analyze as in English. No, if one truly wants to learn [construction] it truly has to be a hands-on experience.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Talon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *