CHICKASAW, Ala. (WKRG) — Construction and manufacturing students at Chickasaw High School have been hard at work outside of the classroom to provide education out of the country while working on their National Center for Construction Education and Research core credential.
“So these kids are actually not only taking charge of their education, but now they are helping with the education of the kids in Los Tabolones,” construction and manufacturing teacher Brian Copes said.
For the past two and a half years, students have been turning an empty shipping container donated by the Mobile Port Authority into a solar power computer classroom.
“Our main priority for the past few years has been this right here,” Chickasaw High School junior Tyler Johnbender said.
Chickasaw students have put in installation, air conditioning, lights, and solar panels. They topped it off with a fresh coat of paint.
“So it’s solar panels that they can actually have internet to use the laptops that we have set up in there, so they can actually learn stuff,” Johnbender said.
Building materials were funded through multiple sponsors including Harbor Freights tools for school, and laptops were recycled from Chickasaw classrooms.
All for a small community in Honduras that has no electricity.
“The community has a small one-room school,” Copes said. “No air conditioning, they just really don’t have much. They teach first through the sixth grade there at that one-room school building.”
High school students in Los Tabolones currently have to take a long hike to get to the nearest high school that has electricity. Now, the students will be able to go into the classroom and get on a Zoom call with the rest of the class.
In March 2024, Chickasaw students who helped build the classroom will take a trip to Honduras to personally deliver the classroom.
“It’s one thing for the kids to build it, but when they go on the trip, and they set it up; they see the warmth and the love of the children,” Copes said. “They will see true poverty; they are going to have a whole bunch of emotions and come back a more well-rounded person.”
Copes said that is what the true lesson of the class is.
“To me, that’s the true reward of teaching,” Copes said.
Two more shipping containers have been donated to Chickasaw. They are planning on partnering with Atmore High School and Gulfport High School to build more classrooms for other communities in other countries.