42nd High School House: 22 years of Great Falls students building homes for families in need

GREAT FALLS- For 22 years, high school students in Great Falls have been hammering and nailing together the woodwork in houses, so families every year can call a house, a home.

This year the students said they're getting an earlier start so they can focus more on the framing of the house. They'll be beginning from the ground up like any other building project. But this time, there's going to be a completely different floor plan including three bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

Tanner Showen is just one of 26 Great Falls Public School students helping build the house. This year, teachers said both kids from CMR and Great Falls High are working together on the project. 

"We're learning about how drain tiles work,” said Showen. We're watching the other crew work today. We're hoping to learn a little bit from them."

This house is located right across the street from Great Falls High School at 1724 4th Ave. S.

This whole process was made possible by not only students, but teachers, NeighborWorks Great Falls, and the community. 

For the last nine years, Pete Pace is one of the leading people involved in making sure this high school house happens. As people can imagine, he's seen emotional moments of his students learning from this experience and when families get the keys to their home. 

"Two years ago we had a student in the interior design class who was helping on the high school class at the time and come to find out she actually lives in a High School House and has been raised in a High School House, and really loves that house, her family loves that house,” said Pace. As she got into high school, she got to be a part of the high school house being built."

Pace said this story shows how cool it is to see people receive and give back. He also said it's great to see the progress of how these newly built homes start to gentrify neighborhoods. Over the years neighbors, the receiving families, and students have all been so grateful of this entire opportunity. 

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