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Rancho Cielo wins California housing competition

SALINAS, CALIF. (KION-TV) Update Oct. 17, 2023, at 3:22 p.m.- Rancho Cielo announced the results of the Orange County Sustainability Decathlon and won the overall competition championships.

Rancho Cielo received 2nd place recognition in the Innovation Category! Overall, they received five 1st place awards and three 2nd place awards across ten categories.

Rancho Cielo heading to Orange County for housing competition

Piece by piece this newly built home is getting ready to head to Orange County.

The construction academy at Rancho Cielo is participating in a grant competition that looks to create "healthy homes” according to Joseph DeRuosi Jr.

“We were awarded a grant to compete in a competition to build an accessory dwelling unit, healthy home here on site, then take it apart into four different pieces, ship it down to Orange County, put it back together, and then show the house in the competition,” DeRuosi said.

Not only will the students look to help others, but also leave their mark on the competition. Rancho Cielo will be the only high school team in the competition.

Former court judge John M. Phillips admires how much this program and others have progressed. He says this accomplishment resembles the progress of the campus he founded.

“It's kind of like we started this place at Rancho Cielo,” Phillips said. “They all told me we couldn't do it. And this place, this project is kind of the epitome of that.”

Phillips also says that as the project was coming together, so too was the confidence of the kids. Josue Cisneros says it wasn't all easy at first though

“There's always times I know I wouldn't say regret, but I mean, I would say, yeah, yeah, I’d have to take a step back,” Cisneros said. “And then I'd always come back and just make myself feel that everything is going to work out there to play its part.”

In the end, Cisneros says this project has helped him build a close bond with his classmates. 

“Everybody has been here and everybody has stuck through with each other, so, I mean, yeah, you could actually see it has been somewhere as a family or as another way, a brotherhood,” Cisneros said. “Yeah, I would, I would say brotherhood as well.”

They’re also building a skill Phillips is glad to see.

“You see their self-esteem growing,” Phillips said. “As their skills grow, their self-esteem grows. And I mean, these kids look back at this now and say we built that.”

The home will be stationed at the Orange County Fair and Event in Costa Mesa for a month.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46


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