Innovation Diploma has some pretty cool facilitators in the forms of Mr. Adams, Mr. Boden, Mrs. Cureton, and Mr. Edwards. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten to know each of them well, and they’ve gotten to know me.
When I was a freshman, Mr. Adams scared me a little. He was this strange man walking all over the school, sitting in on my classes, and leaving me with no idea about what he did or why he was there (or even what his name was, now that I think about it). None of my friends really knew him, and I remember all of us wondering why exactly he was shaking seniors’ hands as they crossed the stage at graduation. Moving into sophomore year, I learned more about what he does and what a weirdo he is. A funny, intelligent, strange little weirdo. Working with him opened my eyes to a whole network of other people who believe students can do incredible things and don’t need to wait until they’re out of college. He also brought the idea that students can work on the same par as adults, and the only thing stopping us is ourselves. This year, through one-on-one’s and more project work, we’ve gotten to know each other even better and I can now count him as my school dad. He gives me advice and feedback when I ask for it, hugs when I need them, and respect when I deserve it. Mr. Adams challenges me to keep reaching for the stars, even when it seems hard or I don’t see the point.
I don’t really remember what Mr. Boden did my freshman year. I didn’t interact with him much beyond watching him set up the sound systems of chorus concerts and hearing him speak at Chapel. He was also a little intimidating, always running around and saying profound things. I don’t remember if it was during freshman or sophomore year that I wanted to talk to him about religion and get some answers to my questions, but I remember having no idea where to even begin that conversation (or begin to search for him in the building, for that matter). He wasn’t one of the facilitators of Innovation Diploma last year, but he did start to show up more at the end of the year as plans to change the room started to be put in motion. Someone also recommended that I go talk to him as I tried to figure out slides for my summer workshop, and he was an immense help in designing and creating those. This year, he’s been an immense help as I sort through the challenges of being a leader, along with how to balance the things I want to do with the things I have to do. Mr. Boden, too, as become an adopted-uncle, and has taught me that my talents can fit into any project, I just have to find the right place in the puzzle.
Like with Mr. Adams and Mr. Boden, I didn’t interact with Mrs. Cureton very much during my freshman year. She had been the freshman English teacher of some of my sophomore friends, so I definitely knew who she was. Plus, she wears some pretty cute outfits and I always admired her style, so how could I not notice her? As I started applying to Innovation Diploma, I saw more of her when we did challenges and interviews and – finally – an induction ceremony (at least, I think that’s what it was called). As we started the first year of Innovation Diploma, I – like everyone else in iD – had no idea what was going to happen. There were definitely some times of frustration, but there were also some times of success (like when Mrs. C basically told me and Anya to go away and “just create your Twitter accounts already!”). Mrs. Cureton was another influencer of my development into a passion for Student Voice, and was a big help in both figuring out the workshop I did and creating a launch-pad for the first ever student-created AP course. As Anya and I take that course, and as I work with her on our current design brief, I’ve spend a lot of time with Mrs. Cureton this year. We’ve talked more one-on-one than we did last year, and today she helped me find where what I’m passionate about fits into the project I’m working on right now. Now my school mom, Mrs. Cureton encourages me to keep growing and learning, finding what I care about in everything I do.
Mr. Edwards – affectionately dubbed “Tedwards” by the student body and named an adopted-uncle by me and many of my friends – was my freshman year Biology teacher, so I was definitely interacting with him a lot. One of my favorite memories from that class was the time we convinced him (because we were ahead of the other class) to let us bring up a prototyping cart to his room and use the materials to combine various animals, plants, and inventions to create something new that solved a problem we saw. Of course, right as we start explaining our ideas, a tour walks in and Mr. Edwards has to find some way to justify why we’re playing with pipe-cleaners and popsicle sticks in a Biology class. I didn’t see much of him last year except for the occasional “hello” in the halls, but when we got back to school this year, I was happy to learn he would be one of iD’s facilitators. I still haven’t worked with him much this year, but it’s always good to hear his feedback or just chat with him while we wait for everyone to show up. I hope I work on a project through which I’ll work more closely with him soon because he’s a huge advocate of the Maker Movement and I really want to learn how to actually build things out of wood or in a 3-D printer – and let me tell you, this man is funny. Mr. Edwards reminds me to find the funny part of a bad situations, and that you shouldn’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and actually create something with physical materials.
I can say with confidence that these four people have had a huge influence on how I’ve developed over the past two and a half years. I’m honored to know them. I’m not going to lie: sometimes their huge personalities are a little much for my still-developing-and-somewhat-fragile personality, but I wouldn’t have them change for the world.
(As a side note, because I just know they’re going to say something tomorrow, you four facilitators should know that the order I did this in is nothing but alphabetical because I don’t want any questions about if it was in order for favorite to least favorite, you hear?)