Return to Headlines

Construction Students Build Skills, Serve Community


Sawdust fills the air as students work feverishly toward their deadline. The scream of the circular saw cuts through the sound of teenagers talking. Eyes are focused on measuring, marking and moving pieces of wood into place.

For a second year, the young men and women in Tamara Gurnell’s construction class at Duncanville High School volunteered to design and build the official school district float for the city’s Christmas parade.

This year’s theme is ‘LEGO Christmas’ – and the construction crew’s concept is elaborate. It centers on a ski slope with LEGO figures schussing down the mountain complete with background music and a fan blowing ribbon to look like snow.

“I have the most amazing set of students,” Gurnell said.

The same students put their construction skills to work earlier this fall to build a new pulpit and mantle for St. Mark Lutheran Church. The church sits right across the street from DHS. Pastor Aaron Glaeske said Mrs. Gurnell approached him at an event to ask if his church needed anything her students could provide.

“We were going to have to hire it out and it would have cost us quite a bit,” Pastor Glaeske said. “I would say a ballpark figure the kids and the school probably saved us in the neighborhood of 800 dollars. It was tremendous.”

Gurnell said the community service projects have given students opportunities to learn real world lessons.

“The kids are learning time management, how to be efficient with limited resources and practical solutions to unexpected changes on the job site,” Gurnell said.

They’re also learning the importance of giving back.

“Duncanville is an amazing community of people and anything we can do as a high school to promote the community, it all comes back full circle,” Gurnell said.