Seniors to build home, unity

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Kennedy High School’s class of 2015’s last group project will require a lot of supplies, but not the typical pens, pencils and notebooks.

The 439 soon-to-be seniors will spend their final year fundraising and building a home for Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity.

It’s a first-time effort.

Kennedy Principal Jason Kline wanted a project that unified the class around something that benefits the community.

“Every student needs to be involved,” he said.

It’s also the first time Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity will have worked with an entire class of students for a full year, said John Bright, community outreach coordinator for the organization.

“We’re really excited to get Kennedy involved,” Bright said. “They seem like they’re really into it.”

The goal is to raise $16,000 and complete construction of the home for an area family before the class graduates on May 28, 2015.

“We’ll get the walls up and they can work on it throughout the school year,” Bright said. “It’s perfectly timed so that they should be done by the end of the school year. ... You can work on the inside of the house through the winter.”

The future seniors will have to wait until October to don their hard hats and start building, but fundraising already has begun.

Amelia Miller, one of the class officers who helped unveil the project to her peers at an assembly last week, already is brainstorming ideas to get donations rolling in. She suggested selling hard hats, a twist on the typical garage sale, carwashes and securing sponsorships from local businesses. To donate, send checks to Kennedy High School.

Bright estimated the total cost of the project at $100,000 or more. Some funding will come from grants and other sources.

Students don’t have to build in order to be involved. In addition to fundraising, Bright said there are opportunities for students to help out at the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore shop and do landscaping, carpentry and painting.

“I think there’s something for everyone,” Bright said.

Erin Pins, also a class officer, said she’s excited to get all of her peers in on the project.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. “It’s kind of overwhelming. Once they see there’s so many aspects to it, I think they’ll want to get involved.”

Kline plans to have future senior classes undertake a service project in their final year at Kennedy. The class of 2015 is aware they are setting a precedent.

“It makes it more exciting,” said junior Fatima Elsheikh, also a class officer. “We gotta set that bar.”

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