KBR Building Group Volunteers in Charlotte Help High School Students Build Habitat for Humanity Home
June 15, 2013

The 2012-2013 school year marked the fifth time that KBR Building Group has teamed with the Olympic Community of Schools in Charlotte to assist high school students in their annual Habitat for Humanity build. 

The Olympic Community of Schools is part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), a longtime client of KBR Building Group. This particular CMS school was converted into a campus of five small high schools by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

During the fall and spring semesters — a nine-month period — KBR Building Group volunteers supervised and worked alongside a student workforce comprised of Olympic high school juniors and seniors enrolled in the school’s advanced construction classes which are part of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) pre-engineering curriculum.

“Our company’s Habitat house program with the Olympic Community of Schools is an ambitious endeavor that equips students — our industry’s future work force — with 21st century skill sets,” said Matthew Readling, assistant superintendent, KBR Building Group. “The house not only provides shelter and affordable housing to a needy family, but also becomes an everlasting symbol of the leadership, charitable nature and character of the Olympic student body.”

A Mid-May dedication ceremony at the Habitat home presented an opportunity to recognize the Olympic students who participated, as well as thank the community sponsors and KBR Building Group subcontractors who generously donated money, time and materials.

KBR Building Group’s Carly Suddreth Morris, project engineer, was singled out for recognition as an Olympic alumna — and part of the original group of construction students who began the Habitat tradition at the school.  Carly’s unique tie to the school and KBR Building Group’s partnership was spotlighted by a local television station.

Mike Realon, Olympic’s Career & Community Development Coordinator, noted "KBR Building Group’s leadership with this type of partnership demonstrates what can happen when the education and business communities are committed to collaborating in designing 21st century classroom projects that are meaningful and make a difference in the lives of students.”

History of Our Partnership with CMS/Olympic and Habitat for Humanity Charlotte
KBR Building Group’s Roger Brafford and Matthew Readling first met with CMS and Olympic administrators in 2007 to discuss how our company could help Olympic math/engineering students obtain actual construction work experience while also benefitting the community. Together they developed a realistic construction schedule for the newly formed joint venture’s first Habitat house on the Olympic campus. A house mover was hired to relocate the house to a Habitat site where the students completed the home and turned it over to a new family. Numerous KBR Building Group employees and their family members have given their personal time and talent over the years to help keep this tradition going.  Since building homes became part of their normal classroom curriculum, proficiency test scores on North Carolina state exams for construction students at Olympic have increased by over 100%. Olympic teams with hundreds of companies in Charlotte to reinvent teaching and learning so it becomes more authentic, project-based, and experiential in nature. In 2010, as part of a $50 million international competition, Microsoft Corporation recognized Olympic as one of the top six high school projects in the nation for its innovative nature and focus on preparing students with vital 21st century workforce skills.   

About the Olympic Community of Schools
The Olympic Community of Schools consists of five autonomous theme-based high schools housed within Olympic High School campus, and it is part of the Bill and Melinda Gates small school movement.  The five schools are: School of Global Studies and Economics; Renaissance School; Biotechnology, Health and Public Administration; School of International Business and Communications Studies; and the School of Math, Engineering, Technology and Science. The Olympic small schools are committed to providing students a high school learning experience that is relevant and engaging.  Since converting to a small school operational model in 2006, proficiency test scores have increased by over 65% on state mandated exams at Olympic, and the small school campus has been recognized nationally by corporate and media leaders like Microsoft, CNN, PBS, and NPR  for their innovation and focus in better preparing students for success in school, work, and life.