6/14/2013 11:06:00 AM CF 2013 grad Nygaard looks to a building life
by Ken Haggerty
Cannon Falls High 2013 graduate Kaylyn Nygaard has come full circle with the Habitat for Humanity for project.
In 2009, Kaylyn and her three siblings moved into the first Habitat Home built in Cannon Falls with their mother, Dawn.
The Nygaard family was chosen through an application process. Applicants had to demonstrate need and housing costs that exceeded 50 percent of family income. Applicants also had to show they had a stable income that could cover a mortgage, taxes and insurance payment. They also had to be willing to donate 200 hours of labor per adult family member.
In addition, 175 individuals donated 1,550 hours of volunteer labor to the building project. Fifteen churches, seven businesses and two civic organizations provided volunteer work crews.
Kaylyn said the project helped spark her interest in carpentry, an interest she pursued in high school and where she excelled. Teacher Mark Wolter described Kaylyn as a leader on the recent completed student-built house class he coordinates.
"Kaylyn was the first one off the bus and the last one on the bus," said Wolter of the trips back and forth from school to the house on Union Court near the Fairgrounds. "She always had great questions about the next phase of the project."
Wolter said Nygaard was a stand-out student in all his carpentry classes as well. "She's made a ton of projects over the years and always does quality work."
Nygaard said her recently deceased grandfather, Don Estrem, was a big inspiration for her to pursue her carpentry interests. Estrem ran a family excavating firm and brought her to a number of job sites. Estrem also was a good carpenter who taught her some basics and gave her some of her first tools.
Nygaard said she enjoys building chests and likes doing different in-lays with different types of wood. She has also done shelves, benches, a chess board and other projects.
In the housing projects, she has really enjoyed working on tiling and siding.
Nygaard said she is frequently one of the only or one of the few girls in the carpentry classes but said the boys have realized she can do the work as well as any of them and have accepted her. "Mr. Wolter has also always been a big moral supporter for me," said Kaylyn.
Nygaard was recently awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the Cannon Falls Housing Initiative, the group that helps coordinate the student built house project in Cannon Falls. The homes are sold to moderate to low-income families.
Nygaard was also recognized at the academic awards night as a stand-out student in Wolter's department.
She has been active in softball, basketball and speech, FCA and SADD. She attends Vang Lutheran.
Her siblings are all giving back to the community. Kayla, a Carleton grad, is currently a volunteer in Teach for America in a low-income section of Kentucky; brother Bryant has been on active duty in Afghanistan; sister Krysta is getting a surgigal tech degree at RCTC.
Kaylyn will pursue a carpentry degree at RCTC. She says she will probably work for a while after that and then maybe get a further construction management or construction inspection degree.
Kaylyn is the daughter of Paul Nygaard and Steve and Dawn McClenney.
This summer she is interning on the current Habitat for Humanity construction project in Cannon Falls, giving back for what she received.