Building trades students helping make repairs to Mercy Career & Technical High School

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Teachers are not the only ones who can make improvements to the classroom. A group of high school seniors are making repairs to Mercy Career and Technical High School in Philadelphia after receiving national attention.

“I like building things and fixing stuff,” 16-year-old Angel Arevalo said. “It’s fun.”

Angel is one of 50 students enrolled in Mercy Career and Technical High School‘s building trades program. As part of several class projects, they’ve been tasked with fixing up the school.

“We fixed the lights, we redid the auditorium,” 17-year-old Faith Davoly said, “and we also did the third floor Mercy East for the students.”


It’s all done under the supervision of building trades director Rick Schmidt.

“We start with carpentry,” Schmidt said. “We start with electrical. We start plumbing. We do masonry and we get into some HVAC.”

The school invited CBS News Philadelphia in to see their work. To our surprise, on-site was the National Electrical Contractors Association, also known as NECA.

“We’re here at Mercy Career and Technical High School during their service day,” 

A day that the local chapter of NECA says has been in the making.

“We’ve been working with Mercy for several months now to get all this work done for this school,” Ken MacDougall, director of business development for NECA’s Penn-Del-Jersey chapter, said, “and generously donated by NECA contractors.”

“That is the whole goal is to train our future workforce,” Valarie Cofield with Carr and Duff said. “And to create a place for them to come when they are ready to work.”


The national organization awarded Mercy more than $19,000 and tools as part of their Adopt a School Program.

Senior Manny Morales, who is finishing up his senior co-op, hopes to one day come back as a contractor to help improve our local communities.

“I just wanted to say thank you to NECA,” Manny said, “and I think it was a really great opportunity that they decided to choose our school.”

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