The next time something at home breaks, instead of calling a handyman, become the handyman.
That’s the principle behind Clear Creek High School’s home maintenance class, which was introduced last school year.
Students are learning basic house framing, drywall installation and repair, electrical switches and wiring, tiling and plumbing. Both midterms and finals involve repairing items at their homes, teacher Ryan Wood explained.
Wood described how he learned similar things in a high school carpentry class, saying, “Since becoming a homeowner, I’ve used those skills all the time.”
He wanted CCHS students to have the same opportunity and introduced this yearlong elective class.
This year, Wood has 22 home maintenance students — mostly underclassmen — who have spent the last three months working intermittently on a project that applies everything they’ve learned.
A group of freshmen said they enjoyed electrical, tiling and plumbing the most, but found drywall very tedious.
For their midterms, the freshmen described a variety of home repair projects —fixing a faucet, reinstalling a doorframe header and putting shingles on a shed roof.
They said they were looking forward to learning more about plumbing, heating and lighting.
“I feel like I know the basics now, that I could fix things around the house,” freshman Zach Bennetts said. “ … It’ll be helpful for the real world.”
However, senior Trenton Phegley felt that the most important thing he and his classmates have learned wasn’t a particular skill, but rather the confidence to take on whatever comes their way.
“I feel that I could tackle most things in the house,” Phegley said, adding that his midterms have included fixing a toilet and an electrical outlet.
Phegley, who also took the class last year, said he returned because it was a lot of fun and there are “things you can learn that will help you in the long run.”
Wood said the school district and community have been very supportive of the home maintenance class. Parents who work in construction have given him ideas, while families and businesses have donated supplies for the students to use.
He’s working on arranging community partnerships so that the students can give back and apply their skills. He said he’d like to schedule something this spring at Charlie’s Place and/or Rocky Mountain Village.
Whether the class opens up career avenues for students in construction or electrical work, or whether it’s just a way to avoid paying $55/hour for a handyman later in life, Wood hopes his students remember that “repairing a home is something anyone can do.”
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