To fully understand the demands and complexities of homeownership, students in North Olmsted High School’s Home Repair and Maintenance class spend most of a semester building a house from the ground up — a very cozy house measuring about 3 feet wide, 2 feet deep and 6-and-a-half feet high.
Open to all grades, this popular class teaches high school students how to master skills related to residential repairs and provides a veritable toolbox of skills and knowledge involving home foundation, home framing, roofing installation and repair and electrical safety and repair.
“My big mission is, I want kids to understand how a house is put together. What is underneath your house? What’s inside your walls? What’s above the ceiling? How was the roof framed?” says Todd Eberhardt, who has been teaching in the district for 29 years. “But we need a model to fix and repair things, so we build that model first. Once the house is done and when the students aren’t there, I’ll go through and pull shingles off or break holes in walls or I’ll mess with the electricity. I play it up like the houses have been vandalized. Then they have to troubleshoot and fix it.”
This non-traditional class appeals to all kids at all levels and abilities and encourages them to consider career pathways into skilled trades.
“I come from a trades family,” Eberhardt adds. His father was a master craftsman, and even though Eberhardt showed interest in following his family’s lead into the construction business, his father insisted he go to college. “I have many friends who worked in the trades and they make a very good living and they love it,” he notes. “I try to push that as much as possible, and I know we have had a lot of kids show interest in the trades because of this class.”