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ES-M class hard at work building a home

By Paige Dearing

Despite being delayed four months by a faculty transition, East Syracuse-Minoa High School's two-year carpentry program still aims to complete its annual home building project by the end of school, in June.

Carpentry teacher Lisl Schwendy was left to teach this year's 10-student class when her co-worker suddenly left ES-M high school to teach at a SUNY college last fall. Longtime teacher and carpenter Phil Kugler was approached by the district and asked to teach the ES-M course with Schwendy. His transition into the vacant teaching position forced the class to start their home building project later than usual.

"We did not get the project off until January and typically we get into a jobsite within the first two weeks of class," Schwendy said.

In the past, the carpentry class has had the foundation of the project laid in August, allowing students to begin construction in September, Kugler said.

The class would alternate between instruction and hands-on work, learning a lesson in class one day and performing it at the jobsite during the next class, Kugler said.

The late start pushed all the lessons up to take place in the beginning of the year, Schwendy said.

Sheds and a new news desk for the TV production studio were built as side projects, as the students waited to begin the home, she said.

Dan Skarupa, who took ES-M's carpentry class in 1991 and 1992, was the chosen applicant whose home will be built by this year's class. Any homeowner is able to apply to participate as the class' project case as long as his or her lot resides within the ES-M school district.

No favoritism is given to alumni, Schwendy said.

The homeowner supplies all the materials and details for their home's construction, but saves money on labor costs by having ES-M students build their house, she said.

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