LRT Build Graduates!
Graduation day for construction students
Light rail expansion is still in the planning stages, but some students are ready to help build it. Sixteen graduated from a construction apprentice program Friday at North Hennepin Community College.
Family and friends packed the Grand Hall to celebrate students who completed the 10 week LRT Build Program. No one was more excited, than graduate, Samona Drink.
"I'm ecstatic, I'm ready," she said.
The only female in the apprentice prep training curriculum, Samona held her own against her male counterparts, learning the in's and out's of the construction industry.
"I can drive a machine if I wanted to, a power tool if I wanted," said Samona.
She had to bulldoze her way through some of life's hurdles before getting to this point.
With a quivering voice she said "I was homeless for four years, before I came here. Nobody would help us, so we helped ourselves."
Now, Samona is back on track. She and her fellow graduates have the opportunity to work on the Southwest and Blue Line light rail projects.
"My handprint is going to be on that, and so are all my brother's too. It's something to be proud of. You come into town and someone's new just visiting, all I can say is, I've done that, I built that," she said.
And although the light rail projects still have funding hurdles to overcome, these graduates look forward to leaving their mark on the projects.
"It will be tedious to know that I won't be on the light rail for long, because of the construction and how their hours are working, but just to know I can put my part into it, makes me happy," said Dionte Javon Henley.
Sonya Goins, reporting
June 30, 2017