Day 6 – March 23, 2017
The day started cold, as we traveled to COAP in downtown Harlan for demolition. We were all given hammers, crowbars, masks, and an overview of COAP by Blake. He talked about how the goal for the place we were helping tear apart was to be an arts and education center for Harlan and inspire further downtown revitalization. Blake also talked to us about the importance of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is where COAP gets a significant source of its funding. He explained how it was important to be an advocate and encouraged us to reach out to our local and state politian’s about issues we don’t agree with and also to be an advocate for the recent government proposed budget cuts which will affect Appalachia.
For demolition, we mostly spent our three hours tearing down wood support planks and removing nails from the wood. I was amazed by the amount of trust that Jason and Odell had in us. By hour one, I was standing on a ladder, using an electric saw to cut up the corners of the wood.
By the time we had finished, the weather had warmed up. We walked through downtown Harlan to the Harlan Center, which had a large chalkboard out front with one question: what do you want to do before you die? That board inspired a nice conversation about national parks as we ate lunch.
We went back to Christ’s Hands one more time. Bryan thanked us for the work we did and gave us the task of beautifying the outside of the building by shoveling gravel and picking up trash. Apparently during this time Shalom and Michelle picked up pieces of coal to be used as a later surprise. When we finished, we laid down some beats and I may have poorly freestyle rapped along the railroad tracks.
After that, we travelled back to the house and most of us took a quick nap. Then, we travelled to Harland County High School (go black bears!) to learn about education in Harlan. Scott discussed how three high schools consolidated into one – HCHS – in 2008. He touched on the socio-economic factors facing rural educators, such as how uninterested parents and lack of housing affects student prioritization of education. However students are given incentives to attended classes, like money reward for perfect attendance.The high school was extremely modern, with a large auditorium, gym, cafeteria, and library.
---Evan + Charlotte