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Drake Students Build Homes on Their Day Off

Over 125 students volunteered to help the Habitat for Humanity project in Daly City during STAR testing week.

STAR testing is this week for most sophomores and juniors at , giving seniors a five-day weekend. But instead of sleeping in, some students have been boarding an early morning charter bus and heading to Daly City to help with a Habitat for Humanity project.

The student-run Habitat Club at Drake High School — led by juniors Olivia Sicroff, club president; Maya Normandi, vice-president; and Carly Peterson, secretary — organized the workday with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.

In addition to signing up over 125 student volunteers and parent chaperones to participate in at least one of the three workdays, the club organizers had to find a way to get the students back and forth to Daly City.

With help from Marin Airporter, students are gathering at 7:30 a.m. to catch the company’s largest passenger bus and begin the commute into Daly City for the project.

“We’ve given them a discount so that they are just covering our costs,” said David Hughes, the charter services manager. “We wanted to help them make it happen.”

Once they arrive in Daly City, the students will be helping to build one of the most innovative projects in the country, said Phillip Kilbridge, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.

According to Kilbridge, the compact, urban design condominium project set on the transit-corridor and has already won design awards.

“We’re transforming an asphalt parking lot into homes for 36 families,” said Kilbridge.

Drake students will be tackling a variety of projects, and according to Kilbridge include framing, setting walls, sheet rock, dry wall and outside siding.

The students work under the supervision of experienced construction professionals. “We have five trained construction managers and eight Americorp members and they will each take six to seven student volunteers,” said Kilbridge.

Kilbridge said the build-out program works— even if volunteers have no prior construction experience—adding the key is to train and focus on one task, whether it’s measuring boards, painting or landscaping. “It’s really effective and about 90 percent of our work is accomplished by volunteers,” he said.

Kilbridge added that Drake High School stands out as a volunteer student group and singled out club president Olivia Sicroff for her commitment to the project.

“We have a great partnership with Drake,” he said. “Drake is one of the most engaged schools in the Bay Area.”

Kilbridge said it was unique that such a large student group would organize to volunteer on a local Habitat project. “The rest of the school is doing STAR testing and seniors don’t have to do that,” said Kilbridge. “They could have slept in or gone to the beach. I applaud Olivia and the rest of the Drake High team.”

Drake students can upload their photos of their work on the project to this article.

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