Model houses at Henry High School

Pictured from the left are students Peter Cherzong Vang, Joshua B. Waukazo-Voss. Lija Vang, Billy Thao, Rio Yang, Joseth Lor and Paul Knoth.

The students in Teddie Lee’s Civil Engineering and Architecture and Principles of Engineering class recently completed a dwelling unit wherein each designed and built a model of a house that appealed to them. First, students learned how living structures are designed, laid out and built. Next, they reviewed types of houses including single-family, condos, townhouses, multi-family, apartments and tiny homes. Finally, they learned about architectural styles of houses including Victorian, bungalow, duplex, colonial, cottage, ranch, Cape Cod, Tudor, contemporary and craftsman.

Now that students had an understanding of the architecture of houses, they individually embarked on the process of selecting and creating a dwelling design that appealed to them. Each explained to Mr. Lee why they were attracted to the chosen style. Most students picked houses that are found in the Twin Cities. Each wrote about their choice and drew a sketch of it. Then it was time to create a floor plan, a layout of their house to be. Frames of houses were built to scale; cutting, assembling and gluing foam based and pressed wood materials.

According to Lee, the instructor who led this model house project, the engineering program at Henry High School is unique in a couple of ways. For one, states Lee, “We have a non-traditional program in that activities are primarily hands-on with paperwork used only to supplement and explain the hows and whys of what students build.” Secondly, Lee said, “Henry’s Community Technology Education program is headed by Ms. Grier, an African American woman.” Lee, who is fluent in Spanish is African American and has Caribbean roots. This diversity of staff allows students to experience the leadership of tech instructors “of color.”

Classes in Henry High’s engineering program include: Information and Technology, a level one computer science class which teaches coding, programming and game design; Introductory Robotics in which participants build and program robots; and Introduction to Engineering Design and Engineering Design and Development. In addition to the engineering classes at Henry, the robotics team, FIRST Team 2500 Herobotics, is an after-school group which has become known as a leader in the robotic competition and innovation locally and nationally. 

Lee will be teaching a unit in aeronautic engineering the last quarter of this school year in which students will build functioning model airplanes. You may well see them flying over Henry High’s sports field.

Lee surveyed his students as to their future career plans. He estimates that 75 percent of students in Henry’s tech program will proceed into an occupation that involves some sort of engineering. To parents and families of youth in the Camden Community, Lee says “We would love to have your children join us in our program. They’ll have fun and learn a lot.”

If you would like to see Henry High’s Herobotic Team in action, check them out April 6-9 at the Minnesota North Star Regional Robotics competition held in the 3M Arena at the Mariucci Center of the University of Minnesota. Info:

          For more info about Henry High School’s Community Technology Education program, or to schedule a visit, contact LaToya Grier at 612-668-2000 or

Note: The unique attributes and history of accomplishments of Henry High School’s Technology Program and the Herobotic’s Team will be shared in the next Camden News.