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CMS seniors dedicate Habitat home

In just four months, seniors at 20 Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools helped build a Habitat for Humanity home and laid the foundation for future classes.

This was the first year for the CMS Senior BuildUp project with Habitat. CMS seniors plan to continue the partnership in future years.

Marthony Hobgood, a West Charlotte High School senior, helped work on the floor joists in the house.

“This took us out of our element,” Hobgood said. “But things became second nature.”

The BuildUp house was dedicated for In Rmah and Yun Rlan. They are immigrants from the central highlands of Vietnam and have three children: Yung, 13, Yong, 11, and Ronnie, 4. They plan to move in mid-July.

Rmah and Rlan spent 250 hours working with Habitat on the house and will be making mortgage payments.

Difficulty raising money

The Senior BuildUp project did not come without obstacles.

The initial plan was to build three houses, but some schools had already planned their major fundraisers, so they scaled back to one house.

The seniors raised $42,000, short of their $75,000 goal. Habitat funds covered the shortfall.

Next year should be easier. Seniors will have a full year instead of just four months to raise the money, CMS Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark said.

Gabriela Alemán of Providence High School and Khushbu Madhiwala of Cato Middle College High School will lead the Senior BuildUp project next year.

Bigger goals next year

Clark said Alemán and Madhiwala will be working during the summer as interns for Habitat Charlotte, planning next year’s BuildUp.

Clark is challenging the 2014 seniors to build five houses in different areas of Charlotte.

Specific plans for next year have not been determined, but Aléman and Madhiwala said they want more students organizing more fundraisers.

“I can’t think of a better way to dedicate my time,” Alemán said.

Haggerty: 704-358-6180
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