Focus on Students
Building Break

Chesapeake students spend spring break on Habitat worksite

Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Chesapeake College Alternative Spring Break students enjoy the Charlotte, N.C. skyline.Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are: Caroline Jones, Danai Hynson, and Savannah Flood. Back row, left to right, are: Omari Chenoweth, Anna Fox, Sam Martin, Marco Garcia, Brian Zagone and Mark Cutter. 

WYE MILLS – A group of Chesapeake College students escaped unseasonal snow here to head south for Spring Break March 18- 23. Rather than flock to a beach with their contemporaries, these students used their time off to work on a Habitat for Humanity project in North Carolina.

Director of Student Life Rohry Flood took nine Chesapeake students on a week-long working trip, the Chesapeake College Alternative Spring Break, to Charlotte.

Prior to their Charlotte trip, the group worked on a local Habitat project in Cambridge. Flood said the prep work gives the students a chance to learn some construction skills and make a local contribution.

In Charlotte, the students worked on roofing, sheathing, insulation and windows. The worked 8 to 10 hours each day, and returned to a Presbyterian church each night to eat and sleep.

Criminal Justice major Mark Cutter of Kent Island participated in the Chesapeake trip for the first time this year.

"We worked very hard and had a great time," Cutter said. "Charlotte is a beautiful city, so it was a great place to visit and work. Our group bonded and we enjoyed spending so much time together learning, laughing, and feeling like we were making a difference."

This was the sixth year that Flood as led the Alternative Spring Break service learning trip for Chesapeake students.

"This was the most hard-working and patient group I’ve ever seen," Flood said of the 2014 participants. "They listened and asked a ton of questions, so they did everything right the first time. Very often, you see these enthusiastic volunteers who just dive in with the best intentions, but they make mistakes. These guys were so focused, that by the end of the week each Chesapeake student had his//her own little project on the build."

The group worked on a four-unit townhouse in Charlotte. Each unit will have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room and a porch. Flood said the students worked alongside the families who will eventually live in the townhouse.

"These are people who are living in poorly maintained rental properties and paying exorbitant rates," Flood said. "They’re working and trying to raise their families, but they are stuck in terrible living situations. Once they move into their Habitant houses, they will be home owners and paying less on their mortgages than they did for rent. Their lives will be completely changed."

It is a mission that was not lost on the young students.

"Just in talking to these families, we got the sense that this was something that they really needed," Cutter said. "You could see that moving into the house would impact these people in a really positive way. It was amazing to be a part of helping someone in such a significant way."

The 2014 Alternative Spring Break participants were: Omari Chenoweth, Mark Cutter, Savannah Flood, Anna Fox, Marco Garcia, Danai Hynson, Caroline Jones, Sam Martin and Brian Zagone.


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