Saturday, May 11, 2002

St. X students rehab house

Seniors volunteer for home restoration

By Tom O'Neill,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LINCOLN HEIGHTS — The gray two-story house at 654 Jackson had been home to squirrels and birds for about a year. Their nests were upstairs.

[photo] St. Xavier High School seniors Michael Graham (left) and Hank Davis measure a floorboard at the Millcreek Habitat for Humanity house.
(Thomas E. Witte photo)
| ZOOM |
        Then, this week, Millcreek Habitat for Humanity came inwith construction equipment and enough volunteers from the senior class at St. Xavier High School to fill an auditorium.

        Their goal is to restore the home and sell it to a low-income family.

        “We've filled three Dumpsters so far,” student volunteer Jordan Weidner said Friday. “And this is a great opportunity to help some of the people we learn about in high school.”

        The Finneytown Jesuit school has no mandatory volunteer program, though about 90 percent of students do volunteer at some point. Of the 345 or so seniors, 230 signed up to assist Habitat with the Lincoln Heights project, which runs through next Friday.They've taken turns in daily teams of 15 to 20, doing “the grunt work.”

        And there is plenty.

        Overgrown weeds dominated the back yard. The front and back porches were removed. Some walls were reinforced, others torn down.

        Flooring and windows are being replaced. Trenches were dug to divert this week's rainfall. Holes were dug Thursday, for the footings for the new porches.

        “We've had 100 percent attendance,” St. X religion teacher and student leadership moderator Dave Eby said with a smile.

        The house is about 75 years old. Habitat paid in the lower $20,000 range, according to Habitat volunteer Dwight Steege, who oversaw the project Friday.

        “These kids are super,” he said, raising his voice over the hammering. “I can't say enough about 'em. It's an awful lot of grunt work.”

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