SST students make the most of their senior year

SST students make the most of their senior year

For Katie Callahan and Kevin Ho, who both recently graduated from Exeter High School, their capstone project in Video Production at the Seacoast School of Technology (SST) helped to define their senior year. Enrolled in the Digital Media Arts program, Callahan and Ho spent 6 months filming the construction of two tiny homes, which were built by students in SST’s Building Construction Technologies program.

“They were building the homes for their senior project as part of the N.H. Lottery and NH Home Builders Association’s Tiny House competition,” said Ho. “They started in November of last year, which is when I started filming and Katie started to take pictures.”

Noting they started to produce their video in May, Ho said the final 6 weeks of their video project consisted of editing film and putting it together.

“We finished it a couple days before we graduated,” Callahan added with a laugh. “We cut it close.”

Upon completing the video, Ho said they showed the completed product to all the seniors in the Building Construction Technologies program. They also provided a copy of the video to each student in the program.

Expressing some disappointment that the homes were not completed—external factors made it impossible–Callahan said they were both excited at the feedback they received from the students who worked on the building project.

“They loved the video,” she said. “We had two students come in and preview it before we showed it to the class and they really liked it. It showed them all in a positive light and they were all so friendly to us during the filming process.”

In reflecting on their senior project, both Callahan and Ho expressed enthusiasm for their experience at SST.

“I value the skills I learned here at SST,” said Callahan. “We got the opportunity to be hands-on and creative in all of our projects.”

Ho added, “We learned the value of teamwork, self-motivation and time management…By creating the video, we had to create a schedule for ourselves and stick to it.”

Callahan said they were also supporting by an “amazing staff.”

“Our teacher encouraged us to be ourselves and incorporate that into our projects,” she said. “We were free to express concerns or questions we had. She was flexible with us.”

If given the chance to advise younger students, Ho said he would strongly advocate that they consider Career and Technical Schools in NH.

“You should definitely check them out,” he said. “They offer you opportunities you cannot get at a middle or high school. You learn about the world beyond high school and how you have to work and what’s required as an adult…The opportunity is free, too.”

Callahan agreed and said even if a course description remotely clicks with a student, he/she should jump at the chance. She said the social component is also a big factor.

“We met kids from 6 other school districts,” she said. “We have made so many friends here within each class. Each class has an organization, too, which is something to put on your resume. These organizations help build business, leadership and communication skills… These are the characteristics that separate you from other kids and other candidates when applying for jobs.”

As for their immediate future, Ho said he plans to attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, while Callahan will attend Pace University in New York City. Both expressed nerves regarding college, but cited enthusiasm, too.

“It’s exciting,” Callahan noted. “I think we are ready.”

Building a Better Future

Building a Better Future

Presented by the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER) and Build Your Future (BYF), the 3rd Annual I BUILT THIS video contest is now open.

According to BYF’s Ashleigh Potuznik, the contest was designed to provide aspiring craft professionals and their instructors an opportunity to showcase “outstanding construction projects and designs.”

“We established it in 2015 to engage NCCER construction-related programs from secondary and postsecondary education institutes,” she said. “We have received videos from all over the U.S. with past winners located in Arkansas, Louisiana and Illinois.”

Noting submissions have increased each year since the inception of the contest, Potuznik said prize package offerings have been enhanced, too.

“This past year, the competition prizes ranges from Lowes’ gifts cards to a GoPro HERO camera,” she said.

Prizes for this year’s contest include the following:

1st Place Prize Pack
Secondary & Postsecondary

GoPro Hero5 Black + Accessory Kit
$250 Visa Gift Card
Build Your Future Swag Box

2nd Place Prize Pack
Secondary & Postsecondary

GoPro Hero5 Camera
$100 Visa Gift Card
Build Your Future Swag Box

While the contest is fun for both students and instructors, the purpose behind it speaks to a very real need in industry.

“With the need for 1.5 million craft professionals by 2019, we must focus on building the next generation of skilled workers,” noted Potuznik. “The construction industry is looking for bright, motivated professionals to help fill this skills gap. Classroom activities like these are a great way to inspire students to continue craft training.”

• Entries must showcase projects that are relevant to the construction or maintenance industries.
• Entries must contain a 1-3 minute video overview of the entire project.
• Videos must also contain verbal responses to each of the following questions:
-What is your name, grade or year in school and what state are you from?
-What is your project?
-Why did you build it?
-Why do you enjoy construction and building?
• Proper safety practices must be demonstrated by all individuals in the video when applicable. (Ex: hard hats, safety glasses, ear protection, etc.)
• Video dialogue must be audible over machinery, background noise, etc.
• Videos must be uploaded to or

All videos must be submitted by Oct. 23, 2017 at 8 p.m. EDT.

“This group activity is a great way to incorporate team building, communication skills and technology in the classroom,” added Potuznik.

To read over the rubric and review contest rules, visit More information may also be found at

Contest winners will be announced at the end of October in celebration of Careers in Construction Month.

Last year’s winners