THE VILLAGES, Fla. — Some Lake County high school students are not only getting an education, but also learning how to build homes.

  • 10 students are part of Youth Construction Academy by Habitat for Humanity
  • Students first learn the skils and tools in the classroom
  • Then they take those lessons and apply them into building a house

Knowlen Kirkland is an 18-year-old senior at The Villages Charter High School. He says he wants to study construction management in college.

"My Grandpa was a shop teacher, my Dad and me remodeled my entire house and I enjoyed it all," he said.  

Kirkland is one of 10 students who are part of the inaugural senior class of the Youth Construction Academy, a new program Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter started last year.  

Barry Martin, construction manager for Habitat, is supervising the students as they build a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Lady Lake.  

"I'm hoping to not only teach them construction skills but also to impart into them what it means to be a good employee," said Martin.  

These students started the two-year program last year in the classroom, learning things like basic framing and how to use power tools.

This year, for four days a week, students are taking those classroom skills and applying them directly to the construction site.  

By the end of their senior year, they will have helped build a new affordable home for a Habitat family.  

"That’s one of my favorite parts about it, that we’re doing it for some good," said Kirkland.  

The students are building the home in conjunction with other volunteers and they expected to be finished in May.

The volunteers and students will participate in the home dedication for the family who will receive it.