Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 15, 2018

McGwider receives lot donation for MPCHS building and trades class

Land donated in honor of Carl Byrum, who helped start the program
Aug 08, 2018
Photo by: Grace King The MPCHS building and trades class will start building a house on an empty lot at 402 S. Adams Street in Mt. Pleasant this year. The land was donated to McGwider, Inc. by Cherie Byrum in honor of her father Carl Byrum.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


McGwider, Inc. will have fewer expenses incurred for the Mt. Pleasant Community High School’s building and trades class after a lot was donated to them for this year’s housing project.

Each year, the realtor organization finances a lot, materials and fields bids from local contractors to help high school students build a house from the ground up. The donation of the lot at 402 S. Adams Street in Mt. Pleasant will save McGwider around $30,000, enabling the nonprofit to reinvest that in future students.

The lot was donated by Cherie Byrum, a former realtor herself, in memory of her father Carl Byrum, who helped launch McGwider in the 1980s.

“He was really proud of the McGwider project,” Byrum said. “My dad liked to help other people.”

Byrum purchased the lot, which neighbored her house and her parents’ house, when they wanted a larger backyard. After her parents died, Byrum considered selling it before realizing it was the perfect memorial for her father.

McGwider typically purchases lots with profits made from selling houses built in previous years. With Byrum’s donation, the building and trades class is positioned well financially for a long future.

“It was a nice token for Cherie to do that for us,” said Josh Maher, a McGwider board member and realtor. “(A building and trades class) is important because the need for housing in this area is so tremendous. It’s valuable experience for them.”

Steve Grey, with Cottage Realty, said that students who have completed the program over the years have gone on to work for companies in town and have even gone on to start their own companies with the knowledge gained through this program.

Grey finds the class especially important with reports of future generations lacking in trade skills. “Not everyone’s going to sit behind the desk. Somebody’s got to build stuff,” Grey said.

Students enrolled in the building and trades class through Mt. Pleasant Community High School spend three class periods a day on the job site. They have already completed the majority of their core classes and have their credits in line for graduation, said building and trades teacher Colby Newman.

As a building and trades alumnus himself, Newman has felt for the pride and sense of accomplishment that go into building a house as a high school student. Whether the students go on to a job in construction or just use the knowledge they gain around their own homes, the experience can never be taken away from them.

“At the beginning of the year from watching this home take shape to watching it come to an end, they start to get very confident in their abilities to do things,” Newman said. “That’s the coolest thing I get to see is watch them build this house, but they’re also building themselves.”

Students learn everything from construction to plumbing and electrical work. Those who complete the building and trades class either walk away with a scholarship for college or get a tool grant of $1,000.

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