A St. Johnsbury Academy organization for Career and Technical Education (CTE) students is approaching the finish line on a construction project supporting the Lyndon Outing Club.
Assisted by a $10,000 grant from the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, the approximately 40-member Academy SkillsUSAÂ® club began building a new garage for the ski facility and recreation area's snow grooming and safety equipment last spring.
A major project milestone was reached Oct. 12 as students assisted by donated equipment and volunteer labor from Classen's Crane Service, based in Waterford, installed the new structure's roof trusses.
Local contractors Greg Cone and Dana Emery, and Wheeler Building Materials, Inc. of Lyndonville also helped support the project, Academy CTE Department chair Kathy Daley said.
"All involved greatly appreciate the support and efforts provided by these area businesses and professionals, and thank them for their time and expertise," she added.
"Local families and their children will be the primary beneficiaries of the project," the Academy SkillsUSAÂ® group said in its Lowes grant application. "If the (Outing Club) is able to keep its equipment secure, it will be able to continue to provide affordable outdoor recreation opportunities for the families of our area."
The application also noted, "Most of the families who utilize the (Outing Club) are families who cannot afford to bring their children to expensive ski resorts."
"With the help of the Academy's SkillsUSAÂ® students and this grant, the Lyndon Outing Club board will be able to realize a decade-long dream of building a secure facility to house their most important equipment, allowing them to focus further fund raising efforts on much needed improvements to the lodge," the application continued.
Academy students, meanwhile, "will benefit by learning new skills, providing leadership for their peers by taking on a visible community project, and learning transferable skills while engaging in this large-scale philanthropic effort," the document added.
Academy CTE class offerings represented include Residential Wiring, Construction Trades, Drafting, Transportation & Logistics, Human Services, and Culinary Arts.
Operating through the international Lowe's home improvement center chain, the Lowe's foundation contributed more than $30 million in 2010 to community improvement projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to a foundation spokesperson.
The Academy's grant is part of the foundation's efforts to support the nationwide nonprofit SkillsUSAÂ® organization's programs, which teach high school and college Career and Technical Education (CTE) students employability skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership in conjunction with their trade, technical and service occupation skills.
One of only 12 Foundation SkillsUSAÂ® grants awarded nationwide, "The grant to the Academy represents Lowe's commitment to career and technical education," Foundation chairman Marshall Croom said. "By supporting schools like the Academy, we believe we are contributing to a cause that's important to our customers and employees by helping provide improved learning environments and build stronger communities."
The Academy was also awarded a Lowes's Foundation community improvement grant in 2008, which CTE students used to help renovate the non-profit Northeast Kingdom Youth Services organization's St. Johnsbury headquarters.
"Just like the Outing Club project, the Youth Services job was student-driven and proof of the Academy's commitment to stewardship ," Academy Electricity and Electronics instructor Michael Bugbee, one of the student organization's faculty advisors, stressed. "We really do try to 'go beyond' to help the community at-large in any way we can."
Information about Academy CTE programs and course offerings is available through the school's Website, www.stjohnsburyacademy.org.