Shannon McPherson could not find the words to express her gratitude.
She couldn’t even find one word.
The Leesburg resident and her son, Devin, will live in the second home students with The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy are building through Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.
“One word can’t encapsulate it,” McPherson said. “It’s not a single-word journey.”
She helped moved piles of dirt for her future home during the groundbreaking Wednesday in Wildwood.
This is the first year VHS Construction Management Academy students are building two homes. Students broke ground on the other home in August.
VHS Principal Rob Grant said the academy and the partnership with Habitat gives students a snapshot of what it’s like to have a career in construction.
“I hope you all have a great experience. You are going to do what no other class has ever done — build two homes,” Grant said to the crowd.
Business partners such as Citizens First Bank, RoMac Distribution and RoMac Building Supply also attended Wednesday’s event.
Justin Cooper, a general manager at RoMac Distribution, spoke about the need for more people in the industry.
“We need you in the future of building,” Cooper said to students. “I don’t know if you know how important it is, but there is always construction, and there is always building to be done. You guys will play a critical role in that. So, to have young men and young women interested in that — thank you.”
Bruce Haberle, instructor of The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy, is proud that students are taking on two homes this year.
“I think it’s really awesome that, one, we have the manpower,” Haberle said. “And now we have knowledge from the first house to jump into the second house. The kids are doing really well this year.”