Almaguin Highlands Students Use Their Construction Skills To Build Community Partnerships

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Almaguin Highlands Secondary School construction students, teachers and Home Depot volunteers work together on a community project.

Construction students at Almaguin Highlands Secondary School (AHSS) in South River honed their skills and gave back to their community while building a pair of gate booths for the Dunchurch Agricultural Society (DAS).

The booths, which will be installed at the entrance of the Dunchurch fairgrounds, are being constructed through a collaboration between the school and the Parry Sound Home Depot.

Almaguin manufacturing technology teacher Darran Andersen, who is also director of the DAS, saw the need for the gate booths and thought it would be a good learning opportunity for his students. His proposal of the project to his fellow agricultural society members was met with unanimous approval. Andersen next turned to community partners Home Depot for support.

Shendah Davy, specialty department supervisor at the Home Depot Parry Sound location says when Andersen contacted her about support for the project, she knew it would be a good fit for the Home Depot Canada’s associate-led volunteer force, Team Depot.

Material costs were donated by the Community Investment team at the Home Depot Canada and expertise was shared by Home Depot Canada team.

“It’s a core value of the Home Depot Canada to give back to the communities we live and work in,” Davy said. “It was great to work with the four dedicated students from Almaguin and watch them develop their construction skills. Who knows, they might be Home Depot associates one day!”

Andersen and Almaguin construction teacher Carter Schaffner hand-picked the group of students to participate in the project which took place over one full day of building followed by class time for two weeks.

The AHSS students used the skills they had learned in Andersen and Schaffner’s classes to build a wood framed structure, and with the help of the Home Depot Canada volunteers, acquired new knowledge of pitch and slopes of roofing and trusses.

Andersen said students saw first-hand the benefits of programs such as Team Depot and gained newfound appreciation for the importance of local volunteers and local organizations such as the DAS and what it brings to small communities.

“Students were impressed by their accomplishment for one day. The project took shape very quickly and the students felt they contributed in a very positive manner to support local organizations and businesses,” Andersen said. “They identified the importance of working together to complete the work in such little time. They were very proud to demonstrate the skills they had already learned to the volunteers from the Home Depot Canada.”

Davy says the Home Depot Canada tries to engage with these sorts of community activities regularly.

“We have numerous requests that come through and each one is individually assessed for how it ties into the goals of the Home Depot Canada community investment program,” Davy said.

“This was the first project we’ve done since COVID, so we were rather excited to get back out there in the community again,” Davy said.

The completed gate booths are scheduled to be installed at the Dunchurch fairground entrance in the coming weeks.

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