Helping hands: CATA construction students spend Thanksgiving break on building project at Harmony School


L-R: Colton Robison, Cory Jenkins, Payton Oden, Dusty Burney and Lea Scott (Photo courtesy Mike Burkett/CATA)

LOGAN – While most area students are relaxing during their Thanksgiving breaks, a group of students from the Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA) is spending some of its time on a community service construction project at Harmony School in the Logan community. 

CATA Building Construction teacher and Construction Club Advisor Mike Burkett shared, “Harmony School has an exceptional outdoor classroom, but they needed a structure to serve as an outdoor classroom while their students were studying in the environmental lab areas. 

“Harmony Teacher/Media Coordinator Lea Scott approached CATA Construction Club about building a pergola (a freestanding garden structure that supports a roof) at Harmony modeled on the one the club had built a couple of years ago outside the Horticulture Lab at CATA.  After some planning and fundraising, Harmony provided the materials and CATA Construction Club students began construction last Friday evening and the following Saturday morning. They plan on finishing up later this week.

“The 12 foot by 16 foot structure will have seating on three sides and will be paved with crushed gravel.   Harmony will ultimately plant vines on the pergola for shade and to support climbing vegetables.

“CATA students worked with Harmony to plan, design, cost estimate and implement the project that was several months in the making, a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor in a different kind of ‘real world’ learning environment.”

CATA’s Building Construction program garnered state-level accolades in October, when its team went to Tuscaloosa for The Resource Center for Career Technical Education’s Team Build Competition.  The carpentry team won the statewide competition, and the electrical team took fourth in its category. The CATA team was the only team at the event to finish in the allotted time and, according to Burkett, “scored high points for their teamwork and communication skills.”

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