From Left: Kassidy Mathews, Khalil Zobairi, Aaron Cole, with their nearly completed "tiny home." The A3 students worked on the home during "May-term"

In a special all-day one-month class students at the Academy of Arts and Academics constructed a tiny home the size of one parking space. This portable dwelling will soon be taken to the Carry It Forward warehouse for finishing touches and then will be placed for use by the unhoused. 

For this project the school partnered with Carry It Forward, a nonprofit organization that strives to reduce homelessness in the community by providing resources and community outreach. Carry It forward supplied the blueprints and expertise to the project and will be placing the shelter once it is finished. Freshman Kassidy Mathews said, “It was really fun to build something for someone and know it was going to a really good cause.” 

Under the direction of Scott Crowell and Jason Valley, two teachers at A3, students learned the fundamentals of construction such as following blueprints and using power tools. Skills like using a bandsaw, planing wood, using electric drills and nail guns were used to build the structure. Junior Khalil Zobairi said the construction element helped to foster community and teamwork within the small cohort.

This was the first time the school offered the class so there were some reservations about student engagement and ability. According to Crowell the students were really motivated and open to the idea. Valley said there is always some hesitation when letting high schoolers use construction equipment but he had confidence that the students would step up and show the necessary maturity, and they did. 

Students appeared to enjoy themselves while they were learning. Sophomore Aaron Cole said, “I would definitely recommend the class because everyone can learn something, there is so much more than just construction.” In tandem with building the tiny house, students also learned about the homelessness issue exploring causes and possible solutions. Zobairi said while they were researching the issue it got pretty heavy and at times was hard to process. Overall the students learned new skills, took a deeper look into an issue facing our community and helped people in need.