LAGRANGE — THINC College & Career Academy is one of 10 schools nationwide to win a grant for a “makeover.”
More than 640 schools from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., entered the CTE Makeover Challenge, states a press release from the U.S. Department of Education. The academy was awarded $20,000 in funds, which will be used for materials to turn a space in the school’s business lab into what the challenge designates as a “makerspace … an environment or facility that provides resources, materials and equipment for students to conceive, create and collaborate through making,” its website states.
In this case, the space will be used for a collaborative project between the school’s business/marketing and engineering students.
“We had a large space in the business lab and came up with the idea to use that and have engineering students develop some type of product that the marketing students can make a plan to sell,” said Kathy Carlisle, CEO of THINC academy. “… We decided one of our goals in the disciplinary projects, math, science, engineering … all our career pathways can work together in a collaborative effort to see how a business operates, and (the challenge) was a unique opportunity to bring all that together.”
The CTE Challenge website states its goal is to encourage hands-on learning and creativity through envisioning, manufacturing, testing and demonstrating students’ ideas. It also is aimed at promoting collaboration, planning and critical thinking.
Carlisle said the state had transferred the funds to the school this week, but was unsure when work on the “makerspace” would begin. It will be implemented in time for the upcoming school year, she said. Once the school has the equipment, it will continue to use it each school year so future classes have a chance to create and market new products.
The program also can create new opportunities for collaboration with businesses, Carlisle said.
“What we would hope to do is engage the business community to help develop products and product lines, and mentor students in a guidance type way,” Carlisle said.
The school also received kudos from 3rd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland for the grant award.
“Congratulations to THINC College & Career Academy in LaGrange, Georgia, on being named a CTE Makeover Challenge Prize Winner!” reads a post on his Facebook page. “By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs will require some sort of accreditation. I am proud that we have such fine technical and career colleges in (Georgia), such as THINC, to prepare our students for the workforce of the future.”
As a winning school, THINC will receive $20,000 and a share of in-kind prizes from more than $375,000 in a sponsor prize pool to build its “makerspace.”
The list of 10 winning schools was announced June 17 at the White House Champions of Change event in support of the President’s Nation of Makers Initiative. Launched in March, the CTE Makeover Challenge called on high schools to design “makerspaces” that strengthen next-generation career and technical skills.
Eligible schools were invited to participate in a six week bootcamp program to further develop their “makerspace” ideas, and submit their final plans to be considered for prizes.
More information about the challenge is available at CTEMakeoverChallenge.com.
A press release from the U.S. Department of Education contributed to this report.
Reach LaGrange Daily News editor Matthew Strother at 706-884-7311, 2153.