⭐️Belonging is being empowered to make your mark.
“I have this idea for my lightbox. It’s a cylinder box with images of my family members etched around the wood frame and on top is a lighted acrylic portrait of my family at Thanksgiving.” Let’s do it, encourages Josh Mulready.
Middle School Makers teacher Josh Mulready embodies a “let’s try it” attitude that permeates the Arts and Innovation (A&I) Center in Lincoln. Whether an idea for two popsicle sticks or a complex 3D printed object, students are encouraged to always try. “I tell students that their only limitation is how much they’ll allow themselves to imagine,” said Josh.
And imagine they do. You’ll find kids at all hours of the day—before school, at lunch, after school—tinkering around the A&I Center working on class projects or just for fun ideas. Soapmaking, sewing, laser cutting, 3D printing, jewelry making—kids are discovering new interests, using unique tools, learning valuable STEM skills, helping one another, and unearthing a little bit of themselves. Josh explained, “When you give kids the ability to show who they are, they really flourish. That is belonging.”
They’ll be mistakes, for sure. In fact, mistakes are celebrated. Josh often tells his students, “When you open yourself up to learn and then make an error, you’re going to grow from that.”
This approach of “dream endlessly, make mistakes, work together” is how Josh creates a maker culture that permeates the Middle School. “The Maker community mindset says that everyone has something to bring to this community. Some students may have great artistic abilities, others may excel in technology. Each of us brings something to the table and we’re going to work together.”
This article is part of a series from Carroll Connection 23-24: The Belonging Issue
- Carroll Connection 2023-24