Students have begun the 2021-22 school year at Berea Community High School.

We are back to in-person school and many students are excited.

Aside from being back in a learning environment that I'm more used to, I'm especially pleased to have the opportunity to further improve this learning environment. The school has recently switched to Summit Learning, an on-line learning platform which allows for increased flexibility and ease with education.

Along with this change, many staff and students have begun designing and implementing a makerspace into the school.

I have the privilege of being one of these students involved and I would like to share why this is so exciting to me.

When Berea transitioned to Summit Learning, I was given opportunity to provide my perspective on Summit as a student when the school was considering applying for the program. I visited another school which had been using Summit for a substantial amount of time, and was able to ask questions to people there about the program.

I learned that not only does Summit provide an easier, more streamlined framework for students and teachers alike, but that the program also allows students to personalize their education towards their own interests and pace of learning.

I learned from the visit and other research that the program is incredible and I therefore advocated for it strongly.

As wonderful as this sounds, the harsh reality is that this program has not been utilized for a fraction of the incredible potential it offers.

Yet.

Due to school having to be virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the program being in the early stages of its implementation at Berea, we have not been able to fully use the program.

However, this is all about to change.

With the introduction of a makerspace to the school, students will be provided with the equipment and area to explore various different crafts such as woodworking, carpentry, fiber arts, 3D-printing and filmmaking, to name a few.

This makerspace will allow students opportunities to explore their own interests and gain experience in prospective occupations. Summit's unique flexibility provides the opportunity for makerspace projects to be tied directly to classroom instruction in addition to providing opportunities for students to acquire certifications for their future occupations.

It is incredibly exciting to see how much opportunity there is for students at Berea within this makerspace. I see so often how my peers and other students my age are uncertain and scared about what professions they will pursue after graduating high school. I know that they will benefit so much from having the chance to explore different trades, develop new skills, and find their passions.

Thus, I am filled with joyful anticipation to contribute towards the development and integration of this makerspace during my senior year.

Because of Berea's school administration and district's philosophy on the importance of student involvement and student leadership, I am able to have the chance to advocate for my peers, provide my input from the perspective of a student and have the ability to improve my own personal skills.

From what I have experienced already by communicating with the school board and administration, it is clear that everyone there is truly passionate for improving the education of students. The district strongly supports action done towards increasing opportunities to develop a growth mindset, emphasizing the importance of equity, and further personalizing the learning done at the school.

Knowing this truly makes me feel honored to attend Berea Community and motivated to do everything I can to help towards this collective goal of establishing the best possible education for students.

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