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Jennifer Richardson
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

McKenzie High School students are helping out their neighbors and getting a lesson in construction at the same time.

Posted: Apr 19, 2021 8:46 AM
Updated: Apr 19, 2021 11:02 AM
Posted By: Jacob Roberts 

BLUE RIVER, Ore. -- McKenzie High School students are helping out their neighbors and getting a lesson in construction at the same time.

Students, educators and construction companies are coming together throughout the month to build sheds for victims of the Holiday Farm Fire. 

“Sheds are the first things that need to go up after the property is ready to go. The sheds are a place for people to put their tools and to lock up their stuff as they rebuild their homes,” said Lee Kounovsky, who teaches construction-related courses at several area schools.

This past weekend, McKenzie students partnered with Sheds of Hope, Lane Education Service District and Northwest Youth Corps to build replacement sheds for those who lost a structure.

Kounovsky said it’s a good opportunity for students to learn new skills and help out in their own community.

“They’ll be getting mathematic skills through measurements and squaring things up. They're going to be building construction skills. A lot of these students have not been exposed to this yet, so this is basic beginning for all these students," Kounovsky said.

To help out, Kaminski Construction and Ausland Group also donated instruction, labor and tools over the weekend.

McKenzie students expect to build around 15 sheds throughout the month. That’s in addition to sheds produced by similar projects underway at Creswell High School, Elmira High School, and Lane Community College.

Freshman Cheyenne Bailey, who is helping build sheds, said her father is a firefighter who worked on the evening of the Holiday Farm Fire. Bailey said she wanted to help out her friends, some of whom lost everything to the inferno. 

“It feels really good. I'm happy that I can do something to help because a lot of my friends homes...burned and I felt really bad about it," Bailey said. 

In addition to helping out their neighbors, Kounovsky said he hopes the effort inspires some students to pursue a career in construction.