Released by Lindale ISD

The Lindale High School (LHS) Career and Technology students have learned a lot in their engineering and architecture class, but Thursday they learned hard work pays off—literally. In this case, paying off came in the form of a $15,030.05 check.

LHS students drafted the plans for a 2,300-square-foot Ruby Trails home and Jerry Alexander, owner of Red Baron Building Company, built and sold their design. Alexander generously donated a portion of the sale back to the Lindale students who helped him create the home.

“It makes me proud as a superintendent to know the students worked and helped design this, and then to come see the finished product, it’s just very exciting,” said LISD Superintendent Stan Surratt. “I can’t thank Mr. Alexander and Red Baron Building Company enough for their support and his imagination and thoughtfulness to create a program like this and come to us and want to be engaged with the schools and engaged with the students.”

Alexander worked with Surratt and the LHS Career and Technology instructor to formulate a plan to engage students in their community and give them a hands-on experience.

“It’s amazing because I didn’t even realize it until we started this project that these kids in high school can design houses on architectural software that I promise you, eight years ago, you had to hire a licensed architect to get that kind of work,” Alexander explained.

The three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home with a bonus room and luxurious master suite was a unique collaboration between LHS students, Alexander, and even local realtors. Students would draw up the plans, and then Alexander would work with the students to make changes based on the design parameters.

“It’s rewarding and a lot of fun because these kids are smart and they’re capable, and they’re really responsive to feedback,” said Alexander. “What was interesting to me was how quickly they caught on. So, if you say, hey this is what a house ought to be like, this is what’s going to sell, then suddenly the next time you come, all those plans have improved dramatically.”

With some students having a hand in the bathroom design, some in the kitchen layout, and others in the living space architecture, the house is proof of what can happen when a community comes together. Now, Connie Orvig and her husband are reaping the benefits of a beautiful collaboration.

“I think that’s exciting because I was a substitute teacher for many years,” said Connie Orvig. “When I found out the children did it, I thought how neat is that? Their ideas and just the difference in me at that age and what they can come up with, I’m thinking wow how time has changed because they put some modern things in here.”

For the students, it was a chance to be creative and to test out a possible career path.

“All our classes are important, but the career and technology classes are very important because it’s not only given them life skills, but it’s let them see if that’s a career field they want to move into.”

“It’s really fun to see everything you designed be put into the real world,” said Ethan Gott, one of the LHS architects.

“It was a challenge to just be able to design something that people would want as their bathroom and just as their living space,” explained Josh Moore, also a LHS architect. “But it was also fun being able to do this and to see it being put to use like we designed it.”

In addition to the $15,030.05 check that will go back into the LHS Career and Technology Department, so future students can see their hard work come to fruition, the Red Baron Building Company is awarding scholarships to the students who drew up the best designs.

The new construction is there for the community to see—Eagles can soar, but with a little help, they can build too.