While some Neenah high school students spent their spring breaks on beaches or just simply relaxing, a group of students assisted in building housing projects for elderly people in rural Kentucky.
Under the guidance of high school teachers Brian Borchardt and Sarah Pennewell, the students were among a group that worked on six homes for the elderly in the Appalachian mountains. Jobs consisted of building ramps for those in wheelchairs as well as replacing windows and doors on homes. The project was partnered with the Christian Appalachian Project YouthFest and was coordinated by YouthGo, a non-profit youth drop-in center in Neenah.
Students involved in the project were: Juan Ortega, Gage Soule, Antone Clohessy, Henry Charlesworth, Treyton Landeau, Ethan Emenecker, Maggie Reagan, Stacy Perez, Bailee Kasbaum, Emily Smock, Kendyl Horn, Devyn Arwood. Borchardt and Pennewell were among six chaperones along with Kelly and Drew Hicks from YouthGo and Neenah alums Amanda and Amber Evers. The group was based in Martin, Ky. from March 25-31.
“We wanted our students to have a chance to travel outside of Wisconsin and to give back to others,” Pennewell said. “It was an opportunity to see our students thrive outside of the classroom where we witnessed them strengthen skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem solving. They experienced the real-world application of these life skills first hand.”
“Some found their voice, some learned building skills they will have with them for the rest of their lives and some found they were capable of more than they thought,” Borchardt added. “Whatever they found, it was their week to leave the world behind in Neenah and put others ahead of themselves. We have seen such growth in each one of them. Our hope is they bring a little bit of what they learned back to their lives.”