Triplett Tech students building pavilion at fairgrounds

Published: Feb. 28, 2019 at 6:16 PM EST
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A local technical school is giving students hands-on experience, while building something they'll benefit from for years to come.

Students at Triplett Tech are building a pavilion at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds to highlight career and technical education.

The idea came a few years ago after Connie Pangle, the principal of the school, saw the career and technical education, or CTE, pavilion at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. She decided, why not have the students build their own?

"It's letting them use those skills they've been learning here at Triplett Tech to go out on a job site and actually construct something," Pangle said.

After a lot of fundraising and community support, they've been working on it for about two months. It was made possible by donations from local rotary clubs, banks and businesses.

"So many people have, one way or another, been touched by Triplett Tech," Pangle said. "Either they attended here or they have employees that came to Triplett Tech back in the day or whatever, so they want to give back."

Despite delays because of wet weather, they hope it will be ready to use by the fair in August — even though it will likely take another year to finish completely.

Students studying different trades have a hand in the project, according to Pangle.

"The students that are building the pavilion are carpentry students," Pangle said. "Once they've got it pretty constructed, then the electricity students here at Triplett will go down and wire and put in fans and speakers and everything else we want in the pavilion."

The principal says this project is important for the entire community, not just students at the school.

"I think everyone's realizing the value of career and technical education, this will really help let people know that we're out there, and that you don't always have to go to college to be successful. You can be a tradesperson."

One of the students, Greg Mason, a senior studying carpentry, says he thinks getting this experience will help him achieve his goals in the future.

"I want to be in carpentry somewhere, eventually maybe a master carpenter or something," Mason said. "It's pretty fun, it's kind of cool to do it in high school and experience it in high school."

He added, "It's a pretty good decision in my life. I mean the stop that's coming from high school to actually having a job is going to be a lot harder obviously. We have Crispen here helping us and were not always going to have Crispen with us. I mean our boss will be there, but it's a pretty big step I feel."

Panglel agrees, "Give them those authentic work experiences where they're actually practicing being on the job so they're a good employee, and they know what to expect when they actually get that first job."

She says the excitement from this project won't end when it's completed.

"It's going to be there a long time, we hope," she said, "and they can bring their children to the Shenandoah County fair and say 'I built that pavilion.'"