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Academy Students Join Ruppert Landscape on Homebuilding Project in Jamaica

February 14-17, 2014 — Academy seniors Tremayne Chatman and Aunyee Waller joined a team of volunteers from Ruppert Landscape on a building project in Jamaica sponsored by Food for The Poor. Now celebrating its thirty-first year of operation, Food For The Poor provides development assistance to the poorest communities in 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, and also coordinates relief efforts in the U.S.

Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, has partnered with Food for The Poor on numerous projects since 2000. The company is also a longtime sponsor of CTE programs in the Academy of Construction and Design. “We became acquainted with the DC Students Constructions Trades Foundation program through our involvement with (board president) John McMahon and Associated Builders and Contractors,” says CEO Craig Ruppert. “We have been impressed with their program and with their student participants who have demonstrated a real commitment to developing themselves and improving their skills.”

In Jamaica, Ruppert’s team of more than fifty volunteers went beyond the popular southwest beaches to help build a school in St. Elizabeth Parish. Along with the other volunteers, Tremayne Chatman and Aunyee Waller helped build classrooms in one of the area’s poorest communities. They also presented a donation of school supplies from the Academy of Construction and Design to the young children who attend the school.

The DC Students Construction Trades Foundation is grateful for Ruppert Landscape's interest and support. On this exciting adventure with a purpose, Tremayne and Aunyee gained experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. CEO Craig Ruppert said, “We felt that by inviting (Academy) students to join us on this year’s homebuilding trip it would provide an additional educational enrichment opportunity. Our hope is that these two students [will] come back feeling good about what they’ve accomplished and having a broader perspective on their lives and what they have to contribute.”

Academy Offers Career Fluency Boot Camp

February 2014 — On two Saturdays each month, Chester Broadway, Desmond Coefield, George Garcia, Ronniece Middleton, Aunyee Waller and fellow seniors in the class of 2014, are participating in workshops on topics ranging from active listening and goal setting to networking and marketing your strengths through cover letters, resumes and other career development tools. Technical education gives students a fast start toward jobs or college. Now, seniors in the Academy of Construction and Design can also take advantage of the new Career Fluency Boot Camp to gain practical, how-to information and life skills coaching that will help them thrive on the job or at college.

For school year 2013-14, the DC Students Construction Trades Foundation was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Bethesda, Maryland-based Acacia Foundation to launch the Career Fluency Boot Camp in the Academy of Construction and Design at Cardozo Education Campus. The DC Students Construction Trades Foundation partnered with The Opportunity Network to train and certify workshop instructors to deliver OppNet’s Career Fluency life skills curriculum at Cardozo. Along with career prep, the Boot Camp also offers writing workshops to help seniors prepare applications for college and scholarships.

Boot Camp instructor Emille Robinson cites consistency as a key to success. “Most students really get that the program offers them an opportunity to get ahead of the crowd in whatever direction they choose following graduation,” she says. “Some are quite motivated, dive into the subject matter, and enthusiastically participate. The challenge is keeping the students motivated to attend a Saturday morning session.”

The Foundation plans to integrate some Boot Camp topics into the Academy’s summer CTE program and is seeking funding to expand the writing and life skills program for school year 2014-15. Kavara McDonald, a graduate of the Academy of Construction and Design, is program coordinator for adult training classes in DC Apprenticeship Academy and also helps administer the Career Fluency Boot Camp. She sees benefits for younger students, too. “Writing and life skills training should start even earlier,” she says. “If we can start the Boot Camp with 9th and 10th graders, it will give them something to strive for.”

The Right Tools from A Few Cool Hardware Stores


ACE Hardware owner Michael Friedman (pictured at far right) and three employees from his D.C. retail group, A Few Cool Hardware Stores, visited lead carpentry instructor Marshall Janifer’s second period class bearing gifts. The company donated $7,000 in tools and hardware to support the Academy’s career and technical education programs. “If you have ever searched for just the right tool to complete a project, you know why we are excited and grateful for this gift,” says Academy director Shelly Karriem (at center with hard hat).


Let's Build a House


With generous support from building industry contractors and suppliers, students in the Academy of Construction and Design at Cardozo High School helped transform a vacant lot into a modern, 2,000 square-foot, single-family property. From groundbreaking in October 2010, through completed construction in December 2012, Academy students completed 240 industry accredited training modules on the construction site in Northwest Washington, DC.



Norman Dreyfuss Scholarships

Norman Dreyfuss Scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who are starting industry jobs or enrolling in college courses after high school. These recent scholarship candidates describe their experience in the Academy of Construction and Design:

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