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Students Get Real-World Experience Through STEADY Work Program; Uncover Red Creek History During Project

Students Get Real-World Experience Through STEADY Work Program; Uncover Red Creek History During Project
students holding board found during deconstruction of home

January 3rd, 2023 - Red Creek Central School District has secured a grant to fund the STEADY Work Program. The purpose of the program is to prepare students that want to enter the workforce upon graduation. Students learn how to fill out applications, working papers and obtain the necessary paperwork to complete these requirements. It's been a learning experience for some students who have never completed any of these documents. Mr. Durocher, a longtime technology teacher, has accepted a role in the program. Mr. Durocher has also been instrumental in having a community service requirement for any student wanting to be involved with the steady work program. It's kind of like a boot camp for those students wishing to be involved with steady work.

This year, students saw a need in the village of Red Creek. There was a house that was torn down and was left in a pile of rubble. The owner, Matthew Carrier, was waiting until he could secure the funds for the removal of the building. Mr. Durocher met with Mr. Carrier and suggested that the kids could do much of the work through community service during school hours. From 2:30PM-5PM, the STEADY work program could be used to pay the students.

Students standing near rubble

You can see from the pictures it was not easy. Students logged over 60 hours of community service and filled ten dumpsters all by hand. The students had to cut the roof section in smaller panels so that they could handle it. Students learned how to work safely, how the building came together and apart but most of all once we start a job, we're going to finish it. Each time a new dumpster arrived they had it strategically placed so they would not have to walk far to fill it.

“It was exciting to see when the students learned more about their little village of Red Creek and building construction in the early 1900s,” said Mr. Durocher. Students found a Red Creek Herald newspaper from 1949 where it featured the new school bus garage. A Democrat and Chronicle newspaper from 1948 was also found in the rubble. During deconstruction, the students realized the nails they were pulling we're quite different than they have ever seen before. Student Dylan Chapman did the research and found the nails were from the time period 1870-1900. They also learned pegs were used to hold the beams in place and that old knob and tube ceramic parts used to protect the wires in the floor joists and walls.

newspaper found during deconstruction of home
newspaper found during deconstruction of home

“We learned how to work together, work as a team and to work smarter not harder,” said Dylan Camp. “I definitely think we learned a lot about the real-world experience.” Students Ron Barnes, Dylan Chapman, Devin Church, Dakota Roberts and Ray Bell agreed that the experience in the program has better prepared them for the workforce.

nails found during deconstruction of home

Another project students tackled was at Bayside Marina there are several abandoned boats in the marina and owner Scott Nash was excited about the possibility that the kids could salvage any parts that they wanted and cut up the boat and put it in the dumpster. In the spring they hope to go back and do some more of this work type work.

The third activity we just started was assembling new furniture for the school. Each team of students was assigned a specific task in the assembly.  They quickly learned that the assembly line method was much quicker than if one student was to assemble a table on his own.

Mr. Durocher is very excited about this program. “For many years we told kids the only answer was college,” said Mr. Durocher. “Our workforce has suffered because of this mentality. You cannot drive by any workplace and not see a sign out front, help wanted. Students are in a great position today because the pay is starting to reflect their value.”

It has been proven that over 40% of the students who enter a job do not stay. They are just not ready for the responsibility. The goal of the STEADY work program is to reduce this number. Now that the students have completed their projects, several local businesses have agreed to take one or two students a couple of nights a week and mentor them.

students sitting in front of cleaned up yard

Janet Cooper is a member of our team. She will be providing students with the necessary paperwork to enroll in this program. She will also meet with area businesses to set up work sites for kids. Jennifer DeVinney is our program coordinator and is working hard to make this program a success. It is the school's hope to grow this program for any student who wishes to enter the workforce and will do so career ready.

If you're a local business and would consider having a student work for you, email Mr. Durocher at or call him at (315) 754 2040 Ext. 4051 after 2:30PM. The best part is you don't have to pay them. The grant pays their wages. We just ask that you mentor and supervise them and hopefully they will be a good fit for your business.

  • Red Creek HS