Students at Kingwood Park High School celebrated the completion of their third home as part of Humble ISD’s “Students Helping Veterans: Big Heroes, Tiny Homes” with a ribbon cutting event Wednesday, April 28.
The program, which has received national and international attention, is a student-led initiative that teaches students teamwork, architecture and construction skills. Homes are currently designed and built by students at both Kingwood Park and Summer Creek high schools with the purpose of donating the new homes to homeless veterans. Students from Kingwood High School are slated to begin construction of their first tiny home during the 2021-2022 school year.
“Our students have a heart for service; they’re service-minded,” Lisa Drabing, Kingwood Park principal, said. “Their motivation is the opportunity to present this home to a veteran.”
The latest home built by Kingwood Park students measures 213 square feet and took approximately six months to build. It consists of two rooms and is furnished with a bed, dining table and chairs, under counter refrigerator, microwave, tea kettle, air fryer, coffee maker and cabinets. The home also features air conditioning and heating.
On April 29, the home was moved to the Langetree Retreat and Eco Center in Liberty County, where three other homes previously built by Humble ISD students now stand. Residents at the site share restroom facilities located in a separate structure.
“The opportunity to give back to the veterans who have served us by designing, building and donating this home has been an amazing experience,” Parker Ryan, Kingwood Park senior and tiny home lead architect, said. Ryan oversaw the design and building teams that contributed to the school’s third tiny home.
Donations have been a big factor in making the project a success. In March 2021, a partnership between Humble ISD, Operation Finally Home, Lowe’s and the Greater Houston Builders Association boosted the tiny home program by making building materials and other resources more readily available to students and teachers.
“As we’ve built each tiny home, we’ve seen greater involvement from the community,” Missi Taylor, Kingwood Park architecture, engineering, and construction management instructor, said. “The additional support from our new community partners has made the process much easier for our students.” Taylor oversees all students involved in the tiny home project at her campus.
Kingwood Park students also refurbished a 2007 Chevrolet HHR which was donated to Langetree to assist veterans with their transportation needs.
“This is a great opportunity to help veterans who have given so much of themselves,” Rachel Reynolds, Kingwood Park junior and automotive collision and refinishing student, said. “I am proud to help give these veterans a means of transportation to make their lives a little easier.”
The car, generously donated to Humble ISD by Betty Rucka, was cleaned, repaired and repainted by students.
“Veterans at the Langetree Retreat needed a reliable vehicle, so our students stepped up and worked together to provide one,” Jeff Wilson, Kingwood Park auto collision and refinishing teacher, said. “The process allowed our students to learn not just about auto mechanics and restoration, but also about teamwork and collaboration.”
Construction on the next tiny home is underway and is expected to be completed by May 2022.
Kingwood Park students working on the tiny home project will soon have a campus workshop that will protect them and their equipment from the elements. The workshop, part of a career and technology education wing addition to the campus, is being funded by Bond 2018. It is expected to be completed by November 2021.