Skip to content

Building Dreams: How IPS Graduate Leads Charge in Rebuilding Stronger

Felicia Hernandez, an office coordinator for Powers and Sons Construction, stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and community engagement. 

As a 2005 graduate of Arsenal Technical High School, her journey reflects the symbiotic relationship between Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS)  and the local construction industry as a result of Rebuilding Stronger, the district’s commitment to ensuring excellent schools for all students in all neighborhoods throughout the IPS district.

Hernandez’s story began as an intern during the renovation of Arsenal Tech High School, an experience that ignited her passion for construction. Now, she pays it forward by coordinating internships for Powers and Sons Construction. 

“I never had a desire to go into the construction industry when I was in high school,” Hernandez admits. “I started as an intern for a joint venture project that took place at Arsenal Tech. I was always excited to learn and grow, which then led to my career as a project coordinator.”

IPS’s commitment to fostering real-world experiences aligns perfectly with Hernandez’ trajectory. Through the Rebuilding Stronger initiative, IPS partners with firms like Powers and Sons to provide hands-on opportunities for students. 

The partnership between Powers and Sons and Davis and Associates, operating as Powers/Davis JV Powers and Davis, will oversee a significant $25 million investment to revamp George Washington Carver School 87, one of the older facilities in IPS.

“As a former IPS student, who grew up in the community there will always be so many special memories, and I am honored to be a part of IPS “Rebuilding Stronger,” said Hernandez, who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Indiana University-Indianapolis.  “I’ve had the honor of living, building, and watching the growth. I see myself contributing to Rebuilding Stronger by staying engaged and giving back to the students and community. 

Reflecting on her IPS education, Hernandez pointed to the exposure and opportunities it provided. While specific mentors stand out, it was her mother’s dedication to the school community that left the deepest impression, instilling values of service and engagement.

“When I was young, I attended Thomas D. Gregg Elementary School and I had many memories of great teachers, substitutes, office personnel, and principals,” she said. “But it was my mother who had a huge impact on my life. I remember her daily commitment to the PTO. She ran every fundraiser, popcorn, and candy sale, field trip, and all the fun events that made going to school fun. She was a gem within our community, but to me, she was just ‘mom.’” 

As IPS alumni like Hernandez lead the charge in Rebuilding Stronger efforts, their stories serve as inspirations for future generations. Through partnerships with professional firms and a commitment to hands-on learning, IPS continues to empower students to build brighter futures for themselves and their communities.

“I am currently searching for IPS students who are interested in construction to join Powers for our summer internship program. These are great opportunities for young people.”