Tiny Home program passes keys to veteran

Lead+architect+Parker+Ryan+cuts+the+red+ribbon+at+the+ceremony+on+April+28+at+Kingwood+Park.+The+house+was+moved+to+Liberty+County+the+next+day.

Crosslin Silcott

Lead architect Parker Ryan cuts the red ribbon at the ceremony on April 28 at Kingwood Park. The house was moved to Liberty County the next day.

By Crosslin Silcott, Kingwood Park High School

A smile grew across senior Parker Ryan’s face as he cut through the red ribbon that was held in front of the tiny home he designed and helped construct as lead architect. The home was donated to U.S. Air Force veteran Jeffery Jacobs on April 28. It was then moved to the Langetree Retreat and Ecocenter in Liberty County on April 29, where tiny homes built by Humble ISD students now house veterans.

“This year is extra special to me because the veteran works on the Langetree site, where the house goes, so like getting to see it go to someone who works hard every day means a lot, especially because he served our country and gives us the gives us the freedom that we have,” Ryan said.

This year is extra special to me because the veteran works on the Langetree site, where the house goes, so like getting to see it go to someone who works hard every day means a lot, especially because he served our country and gives us the gives us the freedom that we have.”

— Parker Ryan, senior and lead architect

Humble ISD’s “Students Helping Veterans: Big Heroes, Tiny Homes,” is a student-led effort to support homeless veterans. This was Kingwood Park’s third completed tiny home. The home is 213 square feet, and is furnished with a bed, dining table and chairs, undercounter fridge, microwave and cabinets. Additionally, the home is equipped with air conditioning and heating, and even had space for a tea kettle and an air fryer. 

“[Jacobs] just walked up to me and he was like ‘your students renew my sense of faith in our youth,’ because he sees so many kids just you know, on their phones, not really wanting to learn something new,” said Missi Taylor, architecture teacher, Tiny Home sponsor and teacher of the year.

Construction for the tiny home began on Nov. 2 and was completed on April 22. Students worked on the house each day during third and fourth period.

“I get to teach all these kids anywhere from three to four years, and just being with them each and every day and seeing them grow, and then seeing the house be delivered after all the hard work that they put into building it  just makes me very proud,” Taylor said.

Along with the donation of the tiny home, the keys to a 2007 Chevrolet HHR will be handed over to the Langetree Retreat and Ecocenter to be used by veterans. The vehicle, donated to Humble ISD by Betty Rucka, was fully reconditioned by students enrolled in Kingwood Park’s Automotive Collision and Refinishing class.

“It’s kind of like sentimental, because we worked on this car for such a long time,” said Taylor Keilman, a sophomore in Collision Repair class. “When you work on something, and do so much on it, you kind of like bond with it. So getting rid of it [was] a little sentimental, but it’s going to a good cause so it’s all worth it.”

The process for the construction of the next tiny home has already begun. The next tiny home will be an additional 72 square feet, and include a bathroom with a shower, a vanity, a working sink, and hopefully a covered patio, said Ryan. Junior Carter Bennett, this year’s captain, has designed multiple floor plans, as next year he will take over Ryan’s role as lead architect.

“I truly, truly believe that if you put it in the universe, it happens,” said Barbara Lange, Chief Executive Officer at Langetree Retreat & Eco Center. “I see [veterans] totally, totally overwhelmed with what you students do. It’s in the universe, and it’s contagious. People are calling me from Huntsville, San Antonio, Boston, and many many other places because of what we’re doing here at this school. Thank you for getting it out across the universe.”

This story was originally published on Park Times on May 4, 2021.