Enrique Reyes’ students have something substantial to show after completing his construction technologies class at Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive. A “she shed” example pictured on the AJUSD Facebook site, @ajusd43 received multiple inquiries.
The construction technologies class is part of an East Valley Institute of Technology course based on the National Center for Construction and Research program and is housed at the AJHS campus. There are currently openings for students next semester and students in 10-12 grades are eligible to enroll.
Students learn about safety, how to use power tools, as well as building basics. Mr. Reyes puts a huge focus on math, reading and understanding plans, layout, and using the tools that are used on job sites.
Math basics such as converting fractions (inches to feet) calculating the pitch of a roof, taking accurate measurements (measure twice, cut once) configuring the area of a shed and ordering raw materials to create a project, give students “hands-on” examples of how math skills are needed in everyday life.
Mr. Reyes is a former Sundt Construction employee who was a journeyman carpenter and also worked as a foreman in the concrete division. He has garnered donations from his former employer and closely supervises his students to ensure they learn and use the same quality, safety and great fundamental practices that are needed in the professional world.
Due to emphasizing high standards he is able to place many students in high-paying jobs with companies such as Sundt, Okland and others. After the students complete the program, many graduates start at $23 an hour --- sometimes more.
Dylan Condra, who graduated from AJHS in May 2019, said he couldn’t thank Mr. Reyes, the EVIT program and AJHS enough for the education and instruction he received at AJHS. He was enrolled in the construction technologies program and also showed an interest in surveying.
Mr, Condra learned some surveying skills from Mr. Reyes and was later selected for a summer internship with Okland Construction where he learned more about surveying. The paid internship --- along with his Lumberjack scholarship --- was enough for Mr. Condra to begin his first year at NAU almost debt-free.
“I am doing well in my classes so far and hope to graduate in four years and earn a degree in environmental engineering,” said Mr. Condra, who, along with classmate Haili Wilson, was named AJHS Student of the Year in 2019. “I feel like my education at AJ High helped prepare me to succeed.”
The former Prospector and current Lumberjack said much of the surveying skills in high school as well as what he learned at his internship, are similar to what he will be learning in his junior year at NAU (he peeked at the textbook). He said he has even used some of the skills he learned in Mr. Reyes’ class for simple things like fixing a hinge on a door and finishing splintery wood in his dorm room.
The high school class is an extension of the EVIT program, however, unlike in the past, Enrique is putting more emphasis on the industrial side of carpentry and providing increased career options for students. To learn more contact Enrique.Reyes@goaj.org.
Editor's note: Sally Marks is Apache Junction Unified School District's public information officer.