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Local students learn technical skills while giving back

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PANAMA CITY, Fla.- Bay District students are learning lessons for future careers and lessons on charity.

On Tuesday, a group of Arnold High School students from its construction program teamed up with HOPE Panhandle to help rebuild parts of a home in Lynn Haven.

The home belongs to a Vietnam War veteran, who earned a Purple Heart.

Program instructor Earnest Greene says the students were excited to give back to the community.

“They would much rather be doing this than sitting in the classroom doing any book work,” Greene said.

The program started two years, according to Greene. He says he never expected that his students would be out using the skills they’re learning to help recovery effects in the area.

“We did not,” he said. “We were hoping we were going to provide the local boarding industry with some qualified workers. We did not realize, there was a need then but the need has really multiplied with the work that is here now and we’re trying to provide the contractors here with some local homegrown workers.”

Kaitlyn Parish, a freshman at Arnold High School,  says she signed up for the class because she wanted to create things.

Parish moved to the area after Hurricane Michael because her father came down to help with recovery.

She also wanted to help after seeing the destruction.

“I felt bad for everyone from their homes being destroyed, losing their homes and jobs and opportunities and probably loved ones. I wanted to help them volunteer in children’s homes to help them out and everything,” Parish said.

Greene says he’s proud of his students and that they’ll hopefully continue to work in more homes.

Students from Rutherford High School’s construction program will also work on the damaged homes of teachers this Friday. 

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