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MEDIA ADVISORY: ?If I Had A Hammer' Project at PCC for Grade Schoolers Builds Real-World Education
Photos and Story by James Hill
ROCK CREEK CAMPUS – Thanks to Portland Community College and The Home Depot, local fifth-grade students will have hammers, and much more. The college and home-improvement retailer have teamed up to sponsor the "If I had A Hammer"project at the Rock Creek Campus, 17705 N.W. Springville Road, for the next two years. The partnership will officially kick-off with a ceremony at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27 Room 105 in Building 2.A class of 25 fifth-grade students from Findley Elementary (4155 N.W. Saltzman Road) will take part in the ceremony and be guided through the hands-on building of an 8-foot-by-11-foot house. The process of making the structure will teach them the importance of the workplace and develop a strong education. Afterward, the students will receive t-shirts and a certificate of deed for their effort."PCC is providing the fifth-grade students at Findley a tremendous opportunity to integrate math, science, communications, art, economics, community service, team building and problem solving,"said Katherine Kirsher, teacher of the Findley class. "My students often want to know why it is so important to study hard in school, and this program aids students in identifying the connection between the importance of their academic studies and the ?real world’."The house will be anchored in Room 105 of Building 2 for the remainder of fall term and all of winter term. Each week a trained "Hammer Boss"– a PCC staff member — will lead the students, their teacher, and three parents through the activity. Following the ceremony, students will take a tour through the PCC campus including the environmental-sciences center and the farm. The experience will give students and parents exposure to PCC, encouraging students to be successful in school and be prepared for college."?If I Had A Hammer’ is not so much about building a house, but a way to help students see the differences between work and school,"said Spencer Hinkle, instructor in the PCC Building Construction Technology program. "Also, it teaches them the importance of all school subjects, workplace and life skills, and making good decisions. It’s a whole lot of fun, too."The college has agreed to run the program for two years. The "If I Had a Hammer"project is funded by a $50,000 grant from The Home Depot for the initial training of the bosses and the construction of the house. PCC is seeking more corporate sponsorship for this project. It is part of national "If I Had A Hammer"program that involves more than 70 colleges nationwide. It began in 1989 and has served more than 200,000 fifth-graders throughout the country."We’ve been a national sponsor of the event since 1990,"said Rick Payne, customer service representative with The Home Depot. "The program is multiple educational pieces and not just the process of putting physical pieces together."The "If I had a Hammer"program is a cooperative effort between Home Depot, PCC and PAVTEC, the coordinating group that links Portland Community College courses and faculty to high school students and teachers. For more information, contact Spencer Hinkle at 503-614-7405.