Second graders get lesson in what it takes to be a builder

Jennifer Tennyison speaks to College Place Middle School second graders. (Photo courtesy Monica Wheaton)

Second graders at Lynnwood’s College Place Elementary School got a lesson Tuesday in what it takes to be a builder during “The House That She Built” presentation  highlighting women’s roles in the construction field. 

Organized by the Edmonds School District Parent Leaders Group, in collaboration with the She Built Foundation, the event featured local workers involved in the construction trades, who provided information on their careers and specialties. 

The College Place Elementary event was the second of four presentations scheduled at district schools between now and the end of the school year and follows a donation of 625 books from the She Built Foundation. The donation to the district’s 25 elementary schools was made in coordination with ECI Software Solution, the World of Books program and school district librarians. The foundation and book itself look to inspire all students to see themselves as builders, organizers said. 

Joseph Irons of irons Brothers Construction shows the students one of his tools.

Following the reading, Melissa and Joseph Irons of Irons Brothers Construction shared insight into their construction-related careers. Melissa emphasized that higher education is not the only option for students and she encouraged them to follow the path they choose. Joseph showed the students many of the tools he uses in his day-to-day work as a general contractor, from large blueprint drawings to handheld drills. 

Jennifer Tennyson, owner of Tennyson Homes and Paint, spoke on her role in the construction field, telling the students that she has the best job in the world. She described how she gets to solve puzzles, be creative and engage with others each day. 

Vonita Francisco reads “The House She Built” to students

“I think we talk to our kids a lot about what they should be or what they could be when they grow up and a lot of that stems around advanced education and higher education without having a focus,” said PTSA Council President Vonita Francisco. “So careers that exist doing things that you love now and having those opportunities shown to our kids and people who are successful at that is really important.”. 

Erin Ennis, owner of Energy Exteriors Northwest, told the students she attended College Place Middle School “next door, and if I can do it you can do it.” She emphasized for the students the numerous options there are for their futures, highlighting that success can be found in many career paths.

Erin Ennis speaks to the students about her own journey in the construction field.
The She Built Foundation has donated a classroom set of the book to each elementary school in Edmonds School District.

Following the remarks, the presenters answered questions from the students. 

The final comment of the afternoon came from a second grader sitting toward the back of the library, one that emphasized the mission of the She Built Foundation. 

“Everyone can be a builder if they want,” she said. 

— Story and photos by Logan Bury

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