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OHS students raise the roof for German Christmas Market

Nov. 19, 2012

Oconomowoc Area School District - Many of the vendors at the highly anticipated German Christmas Market of Oconomowoc will be sheltered in wooden huts that stay true to the tradition that dates back to the 1400s. The city's iconic Village Green will be transformed into a European marketplace beginning at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, and closing at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.

The huts were constructed by Oconomowoc High School's building trades classes, which volunteered to help with the community project.

"It was a two-year planning process," said OHS building trades teacher Steve Olson.

"A lot of the students that worked on them have been my Building Trades III class. We used it as a filler project if there were scheduling conflicts that came up with the house we were working on," he explained.

In addition students from the building trades geometry class also went out to work on the project.

"But it was more than just this group of kids," Olson added, noting that students from previous years' classes also contributed.

OHS Principal Joseph Moylan said he was proud of their efforts. "They worked really hard and were a big part (of the event)," he said.

Olson said they made about 18 of the shelters.

"The huts were 6x6, and 16x7 - they're like mini portable garages," he said with a laugh.

"These are built for a life span of six or seven years. The challenge was to make it solid, but still able to be broken down and stored. That was difficult - especially on the big ones - and make it cost-effective," the teacher noted.

Olson said the project required quite a bit of labor, but he was happy that he and his classes had a role in the German Market.

"It's for a good cause; it's for the community, and I tell the kids you get to walk by and know you played a part in it," he explained. .

"The kids were real positive about the experience and enjoyed working on it and took pride in the project. They really got it," Olson said.

The OHS building trades classes have a long history of working in the community. Most recently, Olson's classes built picnic tables for the soccer park in Monterey.

"I'm always looking to get kids understanding the big picture by helping out," he said.

Olson estimated that as many 75 students over the last two years helped in some way on the project.

"The nice thing is a lot of kids came in after school or on their own time to help. It was fun," he added.

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