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October 28, 2021

Olympic High Students Build 10th Habitat Home

By Peter Brown

The ringing of hammers paused as Olympic High School students enrolled in their school’s construction program removed their hardhats and safety glasses, donned their backpacks and slowly moved back toward the main campus building for their next class. At the same time, students from the upcoming period dropped their belongings on the corner of the concrete slab, put on their safety equipment, and huddled around as the Habitat construction lead reviewed construction tasks for the new group.

Since 2007, Habitat Charlotte Region has partnered with Olympic High to build affordable Habitat houses on campus as part of their construction curriculum. Each home is built on cinder block supports, and then transported to its final location once Olympic students finish building the home’s major structure.

This year marks the 10th home being built from this unique educational partnership. As a Charlotte high school focused on trades education, the construction program is just one of many ways that Olympic students can gain access to in demand job skills, which often translates into careers in trades such as construction, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, machine work and more.

The build also marks the second Olympic student-built Habitat house sponsored by Lowe’s, a long time Habitat Charlotte Region supporter. Lowe’s Generation T movement aims to educate and inspire the next generation of skilled trades women and men. Supporting the Olympic High build seemed a perfect fit.

Students begin Olympic Build
olympic students hammering
Carly speaks at Olympic Build

Today’s kickoff included a special guest. Fourteen years ago, Carly Morris was a student participating in Olympic High’s first Habitat home build. After completing the program at Olympic, Carly went on to attend Appalachian State University where she earned a degree in construction management. Employed by a large commercial construction firm here in Charlotte, Carly is now a senior project manager overseeing construction of the new West Charlotte High School.

“I’m honored that they asked me to come talk to the students,” said Carly. “When you are a teenager, you don’t understand the gravity of what you are involved in.” By participating in a Habitat build “you are a part of changing someone’s life.”

Chevon and her son at Olympic

Also on hand was future Habitat homeowner Chevon Faulkner and her 18-year old son, for whom the house is being built. Chevon’s path to homeownership has been a challenge, which includes struggling to pay rent while living in substandard housing in dangerous neighborhoods, as well as several bouts of homelessness in the 18 years the New Jersey native has lived in Charlotte.

Chevon was urged to apply from a friend whose granddaughter went through Habitat’s homeownership program. And she is glad that she did, calling her son first thing once she’d learned that she was accepted into the program.

After being displaced four times since moving to Charlotte, “homeownership will solidify a great foundation,” said Chevon. “Future wealth as well.”

To say Chevon is relieved is an understatement. After years of moving from place to place, she’s now working toward owning a safe, affordable and permanent home to call her own. What is she most excited about? “The one thing I’m excited about is making my first pot of coffee and sipping it on my porch while the sun is rising.”

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