Mentor High School students learn hands-on skills in unique technical education program

Posted at 8:49 AM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 19:19:53-05

MENTOR, Ohio — A Lake County house is getting a makeover, but the workers may not be who you'd expect. They’re students going outside of the classroom for hands-on training that offers them so much more.

"This is me, this is what I want to do,” said Justin Satterfield, a senior at Mentor High School.

He’s helping flip a 1970s era house in Mentor. Its all a part of the Lakeshore Compact Construction Management Program—a partnership between Mentor, Wickliffe and Euclid schools.

Twenty-four junior and senior students are handpicked to spend half the day in school and half working on site.

"I've always had a knack for kind of tearing stuff apart and I did some work at my house, remodeling. I loved it ever since. So I thought this is the perfect opportunity for me,” Satterfield said.

The Mentor School District bought the home for $130,000. It’s the fifth house renovated by students in the program. Funding was initially provided by a commitment from the school district and school board, but it's now self-sustaining, with money from the sale of each house going towards the purchase of the next year’s house.

The renovations are already about halfway done, but there's still more work to do—like knocking down the entire kitchen.

Students are also working hard below deck, putting in an outdoor kitchen. Duties rotate daily, so everyone gets a turn. Mentor High School senior Josh Amspaugh said he's learning skills that will help him start his own welding company.

"It shows me the business management side of it. And what it takes for estimating and the money part of what goes into building,” Amspaugh said.

After completing the program, seniors can earn up to up to two years' credit for the carpenters' union or 12 college credits.

"I've been accepted to Akron, might want to go there and then next is Case Western,” said Emmanuel Borisade, a Mentor High School senior.

Satterfield isn't sure whether he wants to go to college or join the union straight out of high school, but even if he doesn't go into construction management professionally, the lessons learned will stay with him.

"I mean everybody's gonna be a homeowner someday you're gonna need to be able to repair. Instead of calling a plumber to come out and pay hundreds of dollars you can be able to do it yourself,” Satterfield said.

Work is expected to be completed on the current project home in May. Then, it is required to go up for auction. If it isn’t sold in auction, it will go up for sale.

Lakeshore Compact Career Technical Education offers 18 other programs for students in Mentor, Wickliffe, and Euclid schools.

More information can be found here.