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Mayfair teacher introducing students to building trades

Mayfair teacher introducing students to building trades
Mayfair teacher introducing students to building trades 02:59

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A local teacher is giving students the tools to succeed, literally.

Evin Jarrett is introducing building trades to students at Mayfair Elementary School, the only elementary school in the School District of Philadelphia that's helping students explore vocational programs.

"I think it's important, number one, that the students trust you," Jarrett said. "Once you establish that, everything else falls in place."

"Right now we're learning plumbing, electrical, masonry carpentry," Jarrett said.

His fearless fourth graders are catching on fast.

"What's the most important thing in my classroom?" Jarrett asks the kids. "Safety first," they reply.

A safety meeting is conducted at the start of class, similar to working at a construction job site.

"When you go into my classroom, what do you have to get?" he asks. "Safety glasses," the kids reply.

Leading the crew was Izel. She may appear small in size, but she makes up for it when handling mighty power tools like a circular saw.

As we looked around the class, we noticed at least 95% of the students are girls, who also did not hold back sharing their thoughts on Mr. Jarrett.

"Mr. Jarrett, he gives a lot of work. I'm not going to lie especially on the weekends," student Arielys Velasquez said.

"Do my homework on the weekend when you come in. It's strictly hands-on during the week," Jarrett said.

That hands-on experience landed 8th-grader Arielys Velasquez a full scholarship to Mercy Career and Technical School, where she'd like to study nursing or construction.

She said she'll miss Mr. Jarrett. 

"He's a great teacher... he's a great listener," Velasquez said.

And when he's not in Mayfair, he's on the road teaching shop from inside his decked-out RV that can also be found outside Roosevelt Elementary School in Germantown.

"I call the trades 'the great equalizer,' it's what you put in, that's what you will get out of it," said Jarrett.

Jarrett hopes his classes will be the pathway to good-paying jobs that require hard work and attention to detail, something his students are learning to master every day.

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