Tennessee Teens Raise The Roof In Diamondhead

Helen Herring was in awe of her surroundings.

"I never realized how much work goes into building a house," the Franklin Road Academy student said.

Herring and 21 of her classmates drove to Diamondhead, to help one woman rebuild her hurricane damaged home.

"It's amazing," the junior said. "Just seeing the people come by and talk to you and tell you how much they appreciate it. It really means a lot."

Chase Turpin was also on this mission trip.

"I've got plenty of time to think about college and things like that," the sophomore said. "I figured I could do the best I can with the time I've got. And I'm here with a bunch of my best friends getting something done."

Ty Hasty scouted out where the Nashville students would be most useful. He chose Diamondhead because of a talk with somebody at Diamondhead Baptist Church. Hasty has led six of these missions. So he knows who hard his kids will work.

"You give them the opportunity and give them the resources, they can do it," Hasty said. "Just show them how, and let them make mistakes, and they're great."

Since Saturday, the tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders have spent nine hours a day repairing the Diamondhead home. Their school is holding what it calls "Interim Week" -- a time when students learn life lessons outside the classroom. This was Herring's first "Interim Week" mission.

"I felt like I needed to do my part. Like just instead of sitting at home and saying, 'I'm so sorry for these people,' I just needed to come and contribute," she said.

Just then, Kathleen Miceli walked up to the house. "Hey gang," the homeowner said to the students.

Miceli's property, and her life, got crushed by the August hurricane, and then by a fire nine weeks later. She cried as she watched the Franklin Road Academy crew repair her devastation.

"All I can say is I'm so grateful," she said. "It's exciting because this is the first time something is going up instead of coming down since August."

The Franklin Road Academy students brought their own tools. And they bought most the supplies they used to repair Mrs. Miceli's home. Turpin sensed how important this project was to the homeowner.

"I just think it's great that I could give a helping hand for others who don't have much," he said.

The sophomore and his friends provided a helping hand, and hope. And Mrs. Miceli was very thankful for their determination.

"I need to give you all a hug before I leave," she said, right before they broke for lunch. "I love you guys, all of you. Thank you for helping me."