As the crowd gathered for the highly anticipated auction, auctioneer Cash Cunningham tested his microphone and noted that the event would begin in a few moments. Observers looked around to see who had a bright yellow ticket in their hand. On the auction block was a 1,200 square-foot house built by high school students enrolled in Erie 1 BOCES Building Trades program at the Harkness Career & Technical Center.
From car washes to coupon books, youth regularly participate in a variety of school fundraisers. But high school seniors in Erie 1 BOCES career programs set themselves apart by annually inviting the public to bid on one very large class project. A project that is literally as big as a house. By building a modular home from the ground up, the youth gain valuable hands-on experience. The auction of that house earns the funds needed to purchase building supplies for the juniors moving up the following school year.
This year, the student-built house at the Harkness Career & Technical Center sold to a children's camp named Camp Hickory Hill of Varysburg, NY for $47,000. The camp learned about the auction from twins Elliot and Jeremy Biggs. The Biggs brothers are seniors enrolled in Erie 1 BOCES Building Trades program at Harkness and have previously attended the camp. Camp Hickory Hill will use the house as a residence for the camp's site manager.
A similar auction also occurred at Erie 1 BOCES Potter Career & Technical Center in West Seneca. There, a similar three-bedroom and two-bathroom house with a Jacuzzi tub sold for $38,000. The purchaser, John Apgar, hopes to move the structure to a four-acre lot he owns in West Seneca. Apgar was a returning bidder, he has successfully bid on at least two other houses built by Erie 1 BOCES students.
Following a grant from the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation in 1998, Erie 1 BOCES has been building and auctioning houses as part of their hands-on learning approach for the past 15 years. This is the first year a house has been sold to a youth camp.
As part of the public education, Erie 1 BOCES offers more than 25 career and technical programs during the normal school day to high school students in Erie County. High school students interested in learning more about how they can participate in various regional programs such as building trades, computer networking and health careers should visit www.e1b.org/cte or speak with their high school counselor.