submitted by Yavapai College
It was “all about the dogs” when a group of eighth-graders from Cottonwood Community School rolled up their sleeves to design and construct a doghouse for the Verde Valley Humane Society.
The students, participants in a career and technical education (CTE) program at the Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus, learned basic carpentry and plumbing from YC instructor Aaron Rodriguez over the course of 3½ weeks.
Viola, a custom, 2-by-4-foot, insulated, taupe-colored doghouse.
“Everything that we did, we discussed and considered how the dogs would feel about it,” Rodriguez said, explaining that the house’s 10-inch roof overhang was designed to offer outdoor shade. An above-the-floor door opening was incorporated to keep the dwelling spider-free.
Beyond comfort, Rodriguez said students “really wanted the doghouse to look nice.”
It was delivered to the VVHS March 1. Along with the construction team, on hand for a ribbon cutting were YC Verde Valley Campus Dean Dr. Tina Redd, CCS Principal Matt Schumacher, CCS Academic Coach Amy Romero, VVHS Board Chair Alice Klies and VVHS canine resident, “Abraham.”
Klies said the nonprofit organization plans to erect a sign acknowledging the YC/CCS partnership and “to recognize the kids.” The donation is meaningful because of the community effort behind it, she said. “We’re thrilled to be a part of anything the community can do.”
Schumacher and Romero also lauded the partnership with YC that gives their students career exploration opportunities.
“The idea is to foster an interest, spark a curiosity and put them on a path to rewarding careers,” Schumacher said.
The student builders said they enjoyed the construction segment, especially learning to operate skill saws and nail guns. Several students said they plan to continue taking construction courses in high school.
Past and future career-training explorations for CCS students at YC include law enforcement, culinary, horticulture and nursing programs. The CTE partnership between YC and CCS is groundbreaking for both schools.
“We know it’s life changing. We know hands-on experiences will resonate with these students for years to come,” said Redd, noting that eighth grade is a “formative” year in which a lot of decision-making about the future happens.
Additional partnerships may be forged in the future to make YC career education programs available to more students in the Verde Valley, Redd said.