Ulster BOCES Students Celebrate Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build Week

Ulster BOCES Students Celebrate Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build Week

On March 5, a team of 13 female students from various Ulster BOCES programs joined Electrical Construction & Maintenance program teaching assistant Michelle Rosu and English teacher Kerri Sheehy to work on a new-build home for a local family in Glasco, NY. The group undertook the work as part of Habitat for Humanity’s International Women’s Build Week 2020. The students, who attend Kingston, Saugerties, Onteora, New Paltz, and Wallkill School Districts, poured a concrete pad, installed and secured decking, spackled drywall, primed and painted bedrooms, and secured the foundation’s membrane. 

The female students, who attend Ulster BOCES Cisco & Cybersecurity, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Early Childhood/Educational Studies, and Pre-University/New Visions Education programs, were all eager to pitch in and help a family become new homeowners. Ashley Thacker, an Ulster BOCES Cisco & Cybersecurity student from New Paltz Central School District, says getting involved was about making a difference and empowering women. “I wanted to give back to the community, and it [participation] shows women can do anything men can do and that we are strong, independent, and can work well together as a team.”  

Sam Marino, a Pre-University/New Visions Education student from the Wallkill Central School District, says she was familiar with Habitat for Humanity’s mission because her sister volunteered for them when she was in college. “I love the idea of what Habitat for Humanity stands for, and I like doing things for people who are in need,” says Marino.

This is not the first time that Ulster BOCES students have worked on this construction site. During the winter months, Electrical Construction & Maintenance students helped to wire the house along with their teacher Robert Jones, Rosu, and Saugerties High School Guidance Counselor and local master electrician Dr. Michael Catalano. It was Catalano’s licensure, work experience, and continuing education that permitted the students to hone their skills on a real-work construction site.

Rosu, who has held teaching positions at the Career & Technical Center in a variety of male-dominated fields, including Auto Collision Technology, Automotive Technology, and Motorcycle/Outdoor Power/Turf Management says, “There’s a perception that women don’t have the same skill set to perform the same tasks as men do. From that standpoint, I have tried to be a role model for girls to say, ‘I can do that.’”

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