Smash and patch: A morning with the repair women

Morgan Overable, right, lectures the class and answers questions before making holes into the sheet rock. Many students at the end of class said they felt more comfortable with questions about the process in classroom setting. Morgan recounted a story of hearing about someone’s son who had punched a hole in the wall and used baseball cards and putty to repair it. (Robert Layman / Staff Photo)

Pat Pranger, of Wallingford, screws in her replacement sheet rock. Pranger said she and her husband built their own home 27 years ago, but contracted out the sheet rock. Over the years some repairs have been needed and is excited to be learning the right way to do them. (Robert Layman / Staff Photo)

If there was a class clown in the Dare To Repair class, Bonnie MacPherson would easily take the title. Seen here she laughs after making the biggest hlole possible into the sheet rock. MacPherson and other students commented on the evironment the class offered, and how it’s helping break the fear of talking to contractors or being involved in home repair. (Robert Layman / Staff Photo)

Bonnie MacPherson secures the replacement sheet rock. MacPherson said (Robert Layman / Staff Photo)

Photos and text by Robert Layman

Morgan Overable’s shop classroom isn’t your typical desk-and-chair learning environment. The main room consists of a piece of plywood on top of two sawhorses with nine eager women waiting around the table to bust through drywall so they could learn to repair it.

Overable, who works as a carpenter and now teaches for NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, began her women-focused home repair classes last year after seeing a need for female first-time home buyers to learn home-repair skills. She teaches at the NWWVT location in West Rutland, as well as at rehab projects around Rutland.

Overable said the demand has grown so much the classroom is now expanding to students in Bennington and Addison counties.

On Monday, Jan. 29, the class went over how to patch holes in drywall and the different methods.