Building Futures Cochrane had a showcase recently for the duplex that 10th grade students from the Cochrane area built over the course of the school year.

The showcase invited friends and family of the students to come and view the duplex, as well as to show off other smaller personal projects, the students had completed over the year.

Some projects done by students include, a weight bench, a miniature skate park, a hand carved wooden knife, a park bench, a wooden chest, and book shelves. (some projects pictured below)

To go along with the projects each student had a mini bio explaining a little of who they are, what they built, why they built it, and why they joined the program.

The program itself takes "27 Grade 10 students from Springbank High School, Cochrane High School and Bow Valley High School, and we build two houses with Kingsmith Builders and their tradesmen." says Building Futures Cochrane teacher Richard Dupre.

The students spend the entire school year on site, from when the bus drops them off at the build site in the morning till the end of the school day says Dupre.

Despite being at, or adjacent to the build site all day, the program blends the hands on experience of what it takes to build a house, while also teaching students all of their core classes. 

"The way the day works is, say we're framing that day with a framer, Mr. Pederson would grab five students; they would go on site and build the house for the morning. While he's doing that, I have the other 22 students in our nice finished classroom garage and that's where we do our curriculum work. So, I would do my social, and english teaching at that time and then in the afternoon we'd switch roles, I'd take five new kids out to pick up where they left off. He would come in and teach math, and science with the other 22. We try and get the students on site at least two times a week." says Dupre

Dupre says joining the program was one of the best decisions he's ever made.

"I was teaching at Cochrane High and loved it there. I saw this job pop up while I was teaching there and thought that would kind of be a cool experience for myself and then I applied and got the job and I think it's one of the greatest career decisions I've made just because I get to learn so much every day from tradesmen too."

Dupre says that what makes the program so special to him is the bond he and the students get to make.

"I think we build a really solid culture. If you think about your days in high school, where you know the bell goes you go to your next classroom you go to your new teacher, then the bell goes and then you go with another group. We have the same 27 students and the same two teachers all day for the whole school year, and how strong of a bond you make with those kids that year is amazing.

"So, I think if any student is thinking about what's a good reason to do this? The exposure to trades is amazing, meeting new people is wonderful and like I said, just the culture that we provide is super unique, to high school" says Dupre

Lastly Dupre says that none of this would be possible without the support of Kingsmith CEO Craig Wiens, "He dove in two feet first about nine years ago and he's never looked back and the kids just love him."