SHEBOYGAN — On Tuesday morning, the students from the Sheboygan Area School District were some of the first to break ground on one of Sheboygan's newest projects, the Stonebrook Crossing subdivision.
The 20 students are part of this year's "Project 2021," an initiative in which students enrolled in North and South high schools' Career and Technical Education classes build a residential home in Sheboygan from the ground up. This year's home was selected as one of the first new builds in the city's new southside subdivision, Stonebrook Crossing.
The students will partner with Werner Homes, Oostburg Lumber and other community companies to complete the build.
See photos from Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony here:
The program has been going on for the last 24 years and is being led now by Ted Schermetzler, technology education teacher with the Sheboygan Area School District.
According to Schermetzler, in his sixth year of overseeing the program, students work on-site for two hours a day during the school day for the semester with the hopes of seeing the project through to its finish.
"The crews start from scratch, so we help set up the forms, we help pour the walls, we frame the entire building. The kids do everything that's not required by a licensed professional," he explained. "The timeline varies, but this year we're hoping to put our roof on in November."
Not only does the project benefit the city by providing additional housing, but it helps junior and senior students navigate a potential career path.
"It gives them an opportunity to really see if they'll like working in the trades, like working with their hands, so that's probably the biggest advantage. It also gives them the opportunity to work with other contractors that are in the trades, so for example they'll get to watch an electrician and work hand-in-hand with an electrician every day."
North senior Alex Spielvogel got involved in the program last year because of his family's involvement in construction and enjoyed it so much he returned for his senior year.
"It was a lot of fun, and I learned quite a bit about stuff that even I didn't know about," Spielvogel said. "Just being able to do things hands-on, I feel like you learn so much more that way ... Just being outside and being able to build a house from scratch by hand is awesome."
Last year's home isn't quite finished yet due to COVID-19 supply shortages, but Spielvogel still enjoys driving by and seeing something he helped create.
"It's cool to see it and show my brothers and my family that I built that house," he said. "I can see myself in this kind of career and doing this kind of thing. My dad works in construction, so it kind of runs in our family to be doing something like this."