GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WVNS) – Students in the building and construction trade class, as well as JROTC students from Greenbrier East, headed out in the community to make a difference.

Students got hands-on experience cleaning up debris and building a handicap-accessible walking bridge across a ravine in Greenbrier State Forest. The state forest was hit hard by the floods that hit Greenbrier county in 2016.

“It means a lot because after the flood a lot of stuff got destroyed. My friend’s house actually got flooded. And it means a lot to give back to the community and help people who are not as able-bodied as others to enjoy the stuff we enjoy,” said 12th grader Khalil Gary.

The project, which Greenbrier East has done every year since the flood, gives students a chance to get real-world experience in the construction industry, while also teaching important life skills like leadership, teamwork, and self-sufficiency.

“It gives students a chance to get out in the real world and see real-world problems, and what solutions we can come up with to solve those problems,” said Building and Construction Instructor Brian Baker.

The project is part of an initiative between trade classes and state parks that aims to provide real-world experience while keeping our state parks as beautiful as ever.

It also helps students like Robert Banton, who says being outside, and doing hands-on work just suits his learning style better than in a traditional school setting.

“Without a doubt, hands-on learning to me is always going to be more of a learning experience than actually in a classroom,” Banton said.