Guest post: Victoria M. Bryan

8 Apr

Tonight I’ve found myself in a situation in which I never thought I would find myself as a graduate student in English: I’m in the UTC Fine Arts Center at 10:00 pm writing a guest blog post for CreateAthon onCampus Chattanooga. To make this experience seem even more surreal, I’m accompanied by design students performing the rap they just wrote about this fantastic project. We’re all full of caffeine, Red Bull, pizza, and beautifully decorated cupcakes, and despite the sugar overload, the impromptu dance parties, and the impending sense of delirium, I’m amazed by how much excellent work these students have been able to put together in such a short amount of time.

The work that is being done here is providing the design students with a lot of valuable experience and it will provide excellent learning opportunities and an improved sense of community for the students at Dalewood Middle School. This entire experience has been beautiful to witness. The videos of the pep rally this morning show students who genuinely want to improve their situation, a principal dedicated to making that happen, and college students invested in their community enough to come together to help. I’ll admit that they made me tear up a little.

While Dalewood Middle will surely be improved by the completion of this project, I think it’s important for these design students to realize just how much their student community is being strengthened by this experience. I was impressed when Leslie Jensen-Inman ended our first big meeting this afternoon by asking someone to say something positive about the experience at hand; I’m fairly certain this is something I want to implement in my classroom in the future.

The camaraderie within this department is something I hope these students appreciate and will continue to cherish as they move onward and upward in the design world.

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