Students, Community Partners Break Ground on House

The Villages High School Construction Management Academy digs into new year with groundbreaking event.

By Garrett Shiflet | Daily Sun Staff Writer | August 16, 2021 

Villages High School senior Tayten Beasley can't wait to get his hands dirty.

The 17-year-old and others with The Villages High School Construction Management Academy dug into a new year on Friday with a groundbreaking event.

They broke ground on their latest housing project for the year, a joint venture between the academy and Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter to build affordable homes for families.

Companies such as RoMac Building Supplies also collabo­rate on the project.

Tayten, who is also on the VHS football team, said he lives close to the site in Wildwood. He hopes to, "see every day that I did that."

VHS Principal Rob Grant spoke to business partners and students on Friday.

"This partnership that we have with Habitat is a great thing for our students," Grant said. "The partnerships that we have in the Villages were unbelievable, what they do for our kids. We hope that they're getting a great experience whether they want to go into construction or business or whatever ... There is plenty of work left to be done here in The Villages, and we hope you stay right here at home."

Citizens First Bank spon­sored this year's build. The bank's Executive Vice President Brad Weber and President Lindsey Blaise both dug into the ground with the academy students at the event.

Danielle Stroud of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter talked about the goals of the organization and its partnerships.

"Our mission is to build: homes, communities and hope" said Stroud, who will take over as CEO & President of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter in November.

Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter has been building homes for families in need in Lake and Sumter counties since 1989.

VHS is one of three high schools that Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter partners with for building projects.

"We know the house you're about to build is not just a place where the family can rest their head. It's going to be a foundation for that family's stability. It's going to be a place for their physical and mental well being," Stroud said.

The homes are not free, but the organization works to have affordable mortgages with lenders so the family will be able to pay off their home.

Bruce Haberle will oversee the Construction Management Academy, his fourth year doing so.

The academy has grown in recent years, with nearly double the number of seniors in the academy this year than last.

Tayten, who said his passion for construction likely came from his grandpa, said he's also excited to meet the family that will move into the house.

"Construction is just what I do, I like building stuff," Tayten said "I rebuilt the entire rear end of my truck- I just like doing hands-on stuff."