At Beyond the Bell, students are equipped with the most powerful tool: knowledge. With guidance, students come to the realization that our brains are forever capable of “getting smarter.” Then they are given the opportunity to implement what they have learned in relevant, hands-on enrichment projects in a wide-range of topics.
I had the pleasure of leading a Beyond enrichment project called Art Moda this past fall. In this course, I witnessed flowers blooming in the form of students showing their incredible potential to “flex” their brains. When presented with what would seemingly be the daunting challenge of designing aesthetically pleasing and functional apparel from DUCT TAPE, they welcomed this challenge with open arms. They knew that it would not be easy. But they also knew that if it was something they felt they couldn't do right away that only meant it was something they just couldn't do…YET!
I was especially impressed with the footwear that students designed and assembled. In the assembling of their duct tape apparel, I witnessed students have to restart over and over again, learning each time from their previous try and the feedback of their peers. One student in particular, Xavier, must have restarted his shoe assembly at least 15 times, and while he had moments of frustration (wouldn’t we all!), he did not give up.
When it was all said and done, Xavier had learned from his many “failures “and had a product he was proud to share with a packed auditorium of his peers and community members at the culminating Learning Showcase. Xavier is now exhibiting a strong sense of confidence because he knows what he is capable of when he doesn’t let his mistakes get in his way. Xavier, along with many of his peers, are now willing to try new things with a “yes I can” attitude knowing that they have the proper tools to blossom and grow with the support of the Beyond the Bell community.