Construction continues at Wahpeton Public Schools.

It’s happening literally, with the ongoing expansion of the Wahpeton Agriculture Education Facility adjacent to Wahpeton High School. The $650,000 project is possible through a partnership of the school district, Southeast Region Career and Technical Center and North Dakota State College of Science.

Just before Veterans Day weekend, construction technology students were working on the facility’s expanded framework. Just north of the agriculture building, Wahpeton Middle School students spent the week of Friday, Nov. 8 on a figurative expansion project of their own.

Disability Awareness Week, which began Monday, Nov. 4, allowed students the opportunity to build on their understanding of the world at large.

Instrumental music teacher Tammy Goerger, who was seriously injured in an April 2018 accident, reflected with Wahpeton’s eighth graders on her experience. Goerger shared her story Thursday, Nov. 7.

“I left them with the following thoughts,” she said. “Be kind to everyone as you never know what they are going through. Be grateful for what you can do rather than what you can’t and for what you have rather than what you don’t have.”

It’s okay to offer help someone that may or may not need help, Goerger said to the students.

“Don’t let someone that says they don’t need help stop you from asking another person. Finally, keep things in perspective,” Goerger said.

The students learned about the importance of respecting handicapped people, including not using their parking spaces or their bathroom stalls.

“Students comments on the first day (of Disability Awareness Week) how things were difficult when they were using the arthritis simulator and that things are way more difficult when you are dealing with a disability,” Goerger said.

North of the Wahpeton Public Schools campus, the Southeast Region Career and Technology Center is fostering the construction of opportunities. One such method is with the Supervised Ag Experience (SAE) program.

An SAE allows students to take classroom and lab experience and apply them in the workforce. Participating businesses include Econofoods, ABU Trailers, Wahpeton Ace Hardware and more.

“Sole proprietorship opportunities include developing a small business such as lawn care and landscaping, production agriculture connection to a family farming operation, or a livestock or pet breeding business,” said Dan Rood, Jr., the center’s director.

Students are not only gaining valuable real world experiences, Rood said, they are earning credits that can be transferred to their higher education and developing lifelong career skills.

“This past year, 233 Wahpeton High School students participated in SAEs,” Rood said. “They earned a total of $335,617 and worked 27,694 hours.”

Southeast North Dakota students made a total of $1,374,399 through the SAE program. They worked over 115,000 hours total, with a per-student average of 171 total hours.

“SRCTC students are leading all agriculture programs in North Dakota in the size, scope and overall student success of the Supervised Ag Experience,” Rood said.

Whether constructing opportunities, constructing new understandings or constructing an actual building, there’s much activity at Wahpeton Public Schools.

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