Tech High School Students Build Beds for Families in Need

SEMINOLE — More than 200 students attending Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School at Seminole collaborated with the Pinellas County chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit organization, to build the components for 40 bunk beds donated to families and children in need.

This volunteer-run group, which is dedicated to building, assembling and delivering bunk beds to shelters and needy families, visited the school Jan. 31 for a build day.

Because of the school’s “strong emphasis on career pathways” and the project’s “hands-on component,” it was the perfect fit for the students at the tech high school, said Principal Josh Wolfenden.

The school offers programs in building construction technologies, commercial and digital art, electricity, gaming and SIM programming, marine mechanics, nursing, and veterinary assisting.

As expected, the construction students took the lead on the project with Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Wolfenden said. “We have kids out here that already use chop saws. They’re used to drill presses and that kind of stuff.”

Still, students from other programs “jumped right in,” he said. “They had a great time. Some of them went home saying they wanted to change their focus to construction.”

Sleep in Heavenly Peace set up different work stations in the construction program’s area of campus. Students tackled a variety of tasks, including staining, sanding and branding the wood, which was donated by the school.

Typically, the corporations and other businesses work with the nonprofit as a team-building exercise, Wolfenden. This is the first time it’s collaborated with a school.

“It’s great outreach, a great way to support the community,” he said. “We receive a lot of community support, so we always want to give back to the community, and we want our kids to understand that philosophy of giving back.”

He was impressed by “the kindness” of those running Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s local chapter.

“You can tell they really had a heart to serve and a heart to provide for kids that are in need,” he said. “To me that was the most important theme of the day. It really translated to our students. I think it was pretty meaningful to everybody involved.”

For more information about Sleep in Heavenly Peace, visit