19 Apr

[Editor’s Note: Co-posted on]

When writing blogs, I always plan what I want to say in advance. I jot a few notes or organize ideas in my head. However, until now never have I ever actually outlined a blog. The fact that such an overwhelming amount of information and ideas spilled out of my brain that I actually had to make an outline should tell you that this subject is extremely important to me.

CreateAthon onCampus 2011 was an event like no other. You know that feeling you get once you’ve accomplished something: the warm, happy feeling inside? Well let me tell you now, the way I felt after 32 hours of no sleep, constant motion, and documenting was so much better than that. It doesn’t sound great, but the story is one of a kind.

The preparation leading up to CreateAthon was intense. My class was split up into teams, and those teams were split up in to specialty teams. Each of us had different tasks to complete, and to be honest I never knew how much actually went into planning for an event such as this. It was mainly the small details, such as nametags, parking passes, and certain supplies, that I never realized take so much time to organize. I must send a big thank-you out to Chris Lee with Incor Designs who made our t-shirts within a matter of days! They looked great. As days passed, we worked diligently with the folks at CreateHere, who are wonderful by the way. They were always on top of it and kept us in line when we needed it. As a class, we meshed really well. We recognize each other’s strengths and knew what we need to do without asking. We’re like a family, for real.

The day commenced on April 8, 2011 around 10:00 am on that Friday morning. We all met at Dalewood Middle School for the pep rally. Since I was on the Documentation (DOC) team, I was able to peruse about the gym and get a good feel for the students and the school. First off, the principal, Rodney Johnson is amazing. He has so many visions and aspirations for his students. You can tell that he really wants them to excel in life. The same goes for the art teacher, Michel Belknap. These two are truly amazing and share a wonderful talent of working with children. Then there are the students. Each one of them has so much energy and life in them that it’s difficult to grasp at first. They all have goals, dreams, and aspirations for life. And, they CAN do it. I believe in them.

As we gathered back at school (after graciously been provided lunch by Dalewood) you could tell we were all ready to get started. Excuse me for saying this, but I was in the best group (everyone says that though). No, but seriously. The DOC team’s mission was to basically document the whole experience through videos, photographs, and any social media. And to be honest, at first I was kind of upset I was placed in this group. I was upset for the mere fact that I wasn’t going to get to design or make anything for the school, but I had faith that Leslie put me where I should be. Since I am more on the quiet side and my group was filled with outgoing, charismatic people, I was a little nervous about where my place would be. I did my best to keep the faith…knowing that I CAN!

Once the night got started, I was right to have kept that faith. Being on the DOC team allowed me to be apart of not only my team, but also everyone’s team. I was able to help out fellow classmates with other projects, while also being able to interview professionals. Basically, I was able to get the inside scoop the entire night on everything. And I was able to feel more confident in myself being around my team. They each had so much energy and always had something positive to say. Being a part of this team and this experience has expanded my horizons as a designer, and I must thank my team and mentors for this awesome experience.

We also had a team of excellent professionals that led us through the night. They were able to help us with video editing and photography. They also provided us general advice and input here and there. They knew so much, and I could tell they were very passionate about what they do for a living. To see them give up a part of their busy lives to help with CreateAthon and to help us was very inspiring. Another great group of people to work with were the seniors. They knew it was our class project, so they helped to set us in the right direction and allowed us to take lead when necessary. They are so intelligent and know so much. This makes me very anxious and excited for the upcoming year. I am pumped about what all my brain will be filled with next.

Breakfast was served the next morning, then we all had one last meet and greet before heading down to give our final presentations. We were all exhausted, but I think delirium had set in so we were mostly in cheery moods. People from the community started pouring in including 40 or so students from Dalewood Middle along with Rodney and Michel. Each team had one person present their ideas individually through PowerPoint. Everyone seemed to love the ideas and was surprised with what we came up with in just 24-hours. After it was over, the students handed each of us a painting they made themselves. On the back they said things such as, “Thank you for believing in me,” and “Thank you for helping our school.” That was the moment I was overcome with every emotion possible. Words seriously cannot describe this experience. It’s times like these that make you believe you CAN make a difference. I CAN make a difference.

Thank-you from the Dalewood students.


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