Clayton, NC — Hatley Construction & Repair, a leading Clayton-based firm, sponsored the Student Appreciation Luncheon for students participating in the CORE, Carpentry 1, and Carpentry 2 programs at Clayton High School on Friday, May 12. Annually, these programs engage approximately 250 students, providing them with vital, practical skills in construction and repair.
“The trade industry is a vital cornerstone of our society, one that is often overlooked, especially on the educational level; the industry’s artistry, work ethic, and leadership are slipping away. Alongside my colleagues, we all feel truly blessed for the opportunity to give back to the community through such an effective program. For many, vocational classrooms give these students a path to success, creating avenues to excel in their studies. Educational trade platforms can be life-changing for our youth and their future. The program at CHS is part of my story and has impacted me personally, helping lay the foundation of skills, leadership, and the ability to succeed and give back; our youth needs to understand that college isn’t the only path to success. As we work together to preserve these essential skills, we must remember that investing in the future of our workforce is essential and a privilege. Fostering strong leaders in the trades and showcasing the rewards of dedication and hard work through supporting transformative educational programs, we can reignite the passion for craftsmanship and help ensure a thriving future for future generations, states Jeremy Hatley, owner of Hatley Construction & Repair.”
Students enrolled in these programs are immersed in a diverse range of projects, fostering the development of a comprehensive skill set. From the precision required to craft birdhouses and cutting boards to the structural understanding and team collaboration needed to build extensions for the school's workout rooms, lockers, and baseball and softball concession stands, students are given a real-world experience of the construction industry.
These programs also significantly contribute to the school's key events, showcasing the students' abilities on a larger scale. For instance, the construction of the graduation stage and the football tunnel are monumental tasks that require planning, resource management, and applying various carpentry techniques.
Moreover, these classes also welcome students from the Occupational Course of Study (OCD), Exceptional Children (EC), and Life Skills programs, ensuring an inclusive learning environment that encourages every student to participate and contribute to these projects. This inclusive approach allows students of all abilities to learn and apply valuable practical skills while fostering a sense of community and shared accomplishment.
"I teach the students what you put into it, you get back," shares Troy Lee Jr., CT, Trades and Industrial Teacher at Clayton High School. "All students enter my class with an A. It's their responsibility to work hard to maintain that grade or face the reality of the grade they've earned."
Lee further emphasized, "This program offers more than just trade skills. Students can participate in internships with local companies and leave the program with an understanding of the importance of integrity, their self-worth, and hard work."
In the past 20 years, roughly 70 percent of students from these programs have pursued higher education in related fields or have entered the workforce. “Institutions such as Nash Community College's Lineman School and East Carolina University's Turf Management program have welcomed our alumni stated Lee.”
Beyond technical skills, the program also focuses on developing life skills, fostering local internship opportunities, and instilling an understanding of integrity and self-worth in students. Clayton High School senior Ethan Johnson further emphasized this: "These programs teach us that you don't need to go to college to have a good career. We can achieve anything we set our minds to with the skills we learn here."
These programs also promote a collaborative learning environment, encouraging peer tutoring and assistantships. Numerous students serve as teaching assistants, helping their classmates while earning school credit. Last year alone, 11 of 12 of these teacher assistants went on to college, underlining the program's successful track record.
Adding to the innovative initiatives by these students, they have created a snack room known as the “Beast Room.” Here, snacks are sold, and the proceeds are directed back into the classroom, covering the cost of supplies and occasional class meals.
Mr. Lee, also a minister, has a strong bond with his students, as evidenced by having officiated at over 100 marriages of former students during the past 17 years. The Student Appreciation Luncheon was a testament to the program's real-world impact; many alums, including Jeremy Hatley, Lusi Padron, and Chase Mitchiner, and representatives from Wurth Wood Group, Mandy Smith, and Candice Tart. There were discussions with Mr. Lee concerning the program's needs at CHS. Wurth is proud to help by offering donations from the International company and their partner Great Escape Millwork. Mandy Smith with the Wurth Wood Group stated, “ We are working on delivering a donation of 80 sheets of plywood, among other contributions, to aid in the students' practical learning experience.”The students demonstrated their diverse skillset by preparing, cooking, and serving all the food for the event.
About Hatley Construction & Repair:
Hatley Construction & Repair, headquartered in Clayton, NC, is a prominent construction and repair provider specializing in carpentry, cabinetry, and residential repair services. Established by Clayton High School alumnus Jeremy Hatley, the company is committed to fostering local educational programs that prepare future generations of skilled trade professionals.
Photo Credit Kelly Blanchard; names are written left to right..
Front Row: Kaithlyn Kelly, Kayleigh Menna, Candince Tart-Wurth, Tanner Bain
Second Row: Berkley O’Neal, Stephen Pasquarella, Jeremy Hatley-Hatley Construction, Troy Lee Jr.-Clayton High School teacher and softball coach, Mandy Smith-Wurth, Gabriel Hidalgoh
Back Row: Chase Mitchiner, Luis Padron, Ethan Johnson, Noadh Alford, Craig Hamer
Community Engagement Hatley Construction & Repair