State and local elected officials, business leaders and community residents are invited to celebrate a new partnership between Leesburg High School Construction Academy students and Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter Florida, as the two break ground on a home they will build in Leesburg for a family in need.

The ceremony takes place on Monday, Aug. 26, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the home site, 107 N. 12th Street, which was donated by the city.

“This is a wonderful community project,’’ said Don Magruder, CEO of RoMac Building Supply and chairman of the academy’s advisory committee. “We will have refreshments, a few speeches, the Leesburg High band and cheerleaders there. We are encouraging all the downtown merchants and the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce to participate with us, and we want the public to come out as well. It’s important for these students to know we support them in their efforts not only to prepare for a great career but to also give back to their community.”

Production of the Habitat home will give students an opportunity to put into practice what they have been learning in class. It will be a yearlong project, during which the students will work on every phase of the house including building the foundation and framing; installing electricity, plumbing, doors, windows, sheetrock and flooring; and painting. Students will work side by side with Habitat’s construction staff and professional tradespeople, many of whom plan to donate their time and resources toward the project and serve as mentors for the students.

Students participating in the build were selected from a large pool of applicants. They were required to have taken at least one year of construction classes at Leesburg High School and demonstrated exceptional performance and leadership in their classwork. They also had to write an essay explaining why they would be a good addition to “the dream team.”

“The key goal of the project is opportunity!” said Lynnea Weissman, project manager with the district’s office of College and Career Readiness. “It provides students with the opportunity to give back to the community, the opportunity to learn and practice new skills, and the opportunity to be a part of a very special team.”

New life was pumped into the academy last year with the help of $866,000 in state funding and partnerships with several local businesses. The district added new technology and equipment along with college preparatory and industry certification classes, including hands-on training on job sites, to prepare students for lucrative careers and/or higher education after high school. A second construction academy has been launched this year at Eustis High School.

Follow the Leesburg students’ progress on Facebook at @AcademyLHS or on Twitter at @AcademyLHS.


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