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BURLINGTON — Students enrolled in the Building Trades class, at Burlington High School (BHS), applied what they’ve learned in the classroom to help Veterans Terrace add an addition to their building.

This past summer Veterans Terrace‘s General Manager, Beth Reetz, was in search of large outdoor rolling walls. Her desire to add moveable walls to the side or back of their outdoor terrace led her to reach out to a local educator, Jeremy Fitch.

“She (Beth) had asked me if I would personally be interested in building some stuff for her,” says Fitch.

Venue’s addition gives students the chance to grow

While the teacher knew that he could essentially bring her idea to life, he thought the project would be well suited for a class he was projected to teach.

Credit: Beth Reetz

“This is my first year in the Tech-Ed department after 15 years of teaching social studies in high school. I knew I was going to have some construction-related classes,” says Mr. Fitch. “When she told me what this project was, I said, ‘I can totally do this for you, but I said I have a better idea, instead of me building it, what if I do it as a class project,’ and she loved that idea.”

The project didn’t take off in the summer, but its completion was worth the wait.

“We are so proud of the relationship that we have with our local schools,” comments Reetz.

Applying skills to real life

Juniors and Seniors at BHS provided a solution to a real-life problem. Before the students created these new mobile walls, portions of the parking lot were exposed during special moments like weddings and receptions outside.

By creating these walls, students put an end to the eye sore. In doing so, they had to estimate costs, visit hardware stores, purchase, design, assemble, construct, manage, paint, and deliver the project.

“It’s so cool to see the hands-on experience in the trades that the kids are getting at BHS, and to have them use their valuable class time to build something for us is really special,” says Reetz.

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Mr. Fitch was present through each step of the project, but his focus was truly on letting the students lead and grow while completing a real-life project.

Fitch notes it gave him a “sense of accomplishment to see them actually start-to-finish a project that the recipient was very happy with.”

Enriching Burlington

Students at Burlington High School did more than just give back to a local event venue.

“The purpose of Veteran’s Terrace is to fund the Burlington Community Fund. We exist to help our community and this type of experience is just a wonderful extension of that,” says Reetz.

Profits from Veterans Terrace are returned to the Burlington community in the form of grants and allocation of the facility to other non-profit organizations while maintaining full access to all veterans groups. As the students give back through their skills, the venue will also continue to give back through its unique mission.

“I think the whole community can feel a little pride in our youth and the incredible people that we have leading them. The whole experience just makes me love this community even more,” says Reetz.

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The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. For more K-12 and college education news, check out our Schools section. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

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