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Tidewater Builders Association
 Building Trades Academy  
December 12, 2011
Contact: Mary Prier
Sara Steil
(757) 305-9064
Building Trades Academy students lend a helping hand to a school in need
From left to right, front row are: Building Trades Academy student Donnell Jones, instructor Franklin Cobb, student Victoria Latham, G.A. Treakle Elementary teacher Kim Evans, and student Anthony Judah. Back row, left to right are: students Mike Newsome, Charles Anderson, and Jon McCarthey. The students built six picnic tables for the school’s students to enjoy after BTA received a letter from Evans. 

Students at G.A. Treakle Elementary School in Chesapeake now have new picnic tables on which they can enjoy their lunch, thanks to the students of Tidewater Builders Association’s Building Trades Academy. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, they delivered six newly constructed tables to the school.

It all started when G.A. Treakle teacher Kim Evans reached out to TBA for help to replace the rotting tables in the courtyard in memory of the school’s specialist Donna Sheffer, who dedicated her summer to refurbishing the school’s courtyard before succumbing to a long battler with cancer.

She “made it look beautiful,” Evans wrote in an email to TBA. “We have tried to keep up the courtyard and raise money,” wrote Evans, “but since we work at a Title One school, many parents are struggling to make ends meet as it is.” Being a Title One school means at least 90 percent of its students qualify to receive free and reduced lunches. After hearing of the school’s plight, John Mack, staff vice president of the Building Trades Academy got involved.

“This was a very compelling story that I received from Ms. Evans at Treakle Elementary School that tugged at the heart,” said Mack. “ ‘I quickly said yes. More importantly, the students really jumped into the project.”

BTA is a 501(c)3 entity that strives to deliver workforce education, training and employment services that lead to better jobs and careers in the building trades to low-income residents of South Hampton Roads. BTA students constructed six tables and then donated them to the school so that the students could again enjoy outdoor lunches, as well as again enjoy Sheffer’s gardens and help to keep her memory alive.

The students “learned some solid carpentry skills along with team building skills,” said Mack of the project. “They also learned the value of giving back to your community.”

For more information about the TBA Building Trades Academy, contact John Mack at 420-2566 or [email protected].

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