STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - It's a huge gift for one Starkville family.
For the 18th year in a row, students from Rockford College are in Starkville spending their spring break doing labor work by constructing a new house.
With the help of Starkville Habitat for Humanity and students from two colleges, a family of three will soon be able to move into a brand new four-bedroom, two-bath, 12,000-square-foot house.
"We are so looking forward to at least meeting up with a lot of people and just spending this time with the next three months," adds Demetra Petty, Starkville resident. "We'll be so excited by moving in, and this will be an opportunity of a lifetime."
For Starkville's Habitat for Humanity this marks the 51st Habitat Home as the organization stays on track by building a couple of homes a year.
"We start in March with spring break, then we try to have it finished by June," adds Freddie Rasberry, executive director for Starkville Habitat for Humanity. "Then we start another one in August and we have it finished by November."
A group of students from Rockford, Ill., is the first of two colleges that will be sending down students over spring break to work on constructing the house, but when it comes to finishing the structure, Starkville Habitat for Humanity is going to have to call on local volunteers.
"We only have these two weeks at Collegiate Challenge," adds Annika Campbell, Starkville Habitat board member. "Then we need people from the community to step up and come volunteer so that the family can move into their house on time in June."
The college students on this project say they're learning a number of skills that aren't necessarily taught in the classroom.
"[We learn] how to nail a house, how to put a hammer and wood together and how to trim and put the house together," adds Eunice Kpur, student. [It'll] be a better experience for me."
"We can really learn and benefit from this and what those benefits are: teamwork, community, compassion, love, friendship, kindness and we can go on forever talking about it," said Eric Woelbling, student.
"I don't know these people at all, but I am so blessed to be here and able to help them out and do something great for someone else," added Michelle Williams, student.
The house is not free. The family has to purchase it on a payment program and the family has to help with construction by doing 300 hours of what is called sweat equity themselves.