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Cool Schools: Building A $775,000 Home

7:46 AM, Apr 15, 2011   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- High school students building a $775,000 house? That's exactly the case in Fairfax County Virginia.

They are part of a program called F.A.T.E., or "Foundation for Applied Technical Education."

Students learn the trade first in the classroom and then on the job site.

Bryan Smith, a senior at Lake Braddock Secondary School, says this fits perfectly into his future career plans. "I want to be an architect, so this is a good way to get in the field and know what goes on."

Students do everything from framing to drywall to tile with their own two hands. Once the home is complete, it is sold, and the profits go back into the F.A.T.E. program to keep it going.

Their goal is to build one house per year. Right now they have one finished home for sale in Springfield, Virginia and another under construction.

Chad Maclin, of Fairfax County Schools, heads up the F.A.T.E. program, and even he's astonished about the level of accomplishment of these students.

"It's pretty amazing when you put a 16- or 17-year-old in charge of a three-quarter of a million dollar project and see the pride and the workmanship that they carry through."

And what's really cool, once the students complete their credit hours necessary for school, they start getting paid for their work on the job site!

If you have a Cool School e-mail Mike Hydeck your story ideas at coolschools@wusa9.com. Catch our Cool Schools reports every Friday morning at 5:45 a.m.

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