Habitat for Humanity’s Service Day activity provides meaningful challenge


Randall Findlay (submitted)

From top left to bottom right, senior Chris Pifer, senior Vittorio Orlandi, senior Philip Swanson, senior Charlie Southwick, junior Amber Skarjune, senior Sam Carlson, junior Carrie Jaeger, junior Kevin Patterson, and junior Thomas Toghramadjian pose for a picture after a hard day of work at one of Habitat for Humanity’s St. Paul homes.

While many service opportunities offered a heartwarming opportunity to connect with children and the elderly, three groups working with Habitat for Humanity reached out to the community in a more labor-intensive—and much colder— way.

Each group worked a lengthy shift, leaving school at 7:45 a.m. and returning after 3:00 p.m. For mine, that entailed hours of building outside as we put up siding for a garage in St. Paul.

The learning curve was steep. Siding the garage required making precise measurements, cutting planks to length with a power saw, and nailing them to the building’s exterior while keeping them perfectly level.

As my team discovered, the last of these presented a formidable challenge. We had to pry off several of the long siding boards that failed to pass the Habitat workers’ evaluation. Nonetheless, the end of the day found two sides of the garage mostly completed, largely thanks to the efforts of a hardworking contingent of senior boys who seemed to have the process down to a science.