SAN ANTONIO – Mike Byrnes is a construction technology teacher at San Antonio’s Harlan High School. While teaching his virtual learning students, he noticed something – many didn’t have their own desk.
“They were sitting in their beds or in the living room. It just kind of came to my attention that a lot of these students don’t have a desk or a place to put a computer,” said Byrnes.
He decided to change that.
“I came up with a way to build four desks out of one piece of plywood,” said Byrnes.
He asked Lowe’s to donate the supplies and it agreed.
In no time at all, Byrnes and the students in his class were on a mission to build 50 desks.
“I wanted to give them away instead of sell[ing] them to families who are less fortunate, who didn’t have desks,” said Byrnes.
In San Antonio, 26.1% of children under 18 live in poverty. The state average is 19.2%.
Byrnes’ student Darnell Ford followed his teacher’s lead and says its helped shape his career goals.
“I might go more towards construction management,” said Ford.
It also taught him life lessons.
“When we first started these, it was to give back to the people who didn’t have a place to do homework or anything like that,” said Ford.
Local police departments and elementary school leaders helped find the families most in need. The first 50 desks went so quickly this class is already busy making more.
Byrnes said he’s just trying to pay it forward and make the struggle of the pandemic a little less stressful for families in need.
“It’s tough being at home. It’s tough not having a place, a corner where you can work privately,” he said.
Now those students have a desk to call their own.