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Best of the Week 2019-2020: Teaching to the Future


This semester, students in the St. Andre's Scholars program at St. Ed's teamed up with the Engineering and Entrepreneurship departments to start a recycling initiative, an interdisciplinary project, and an opportunity to help expand the supplies and resources for the St. Andre's Scholars program. The concept for this project started with Mrs. Renee Zorger, Director of the St. Andre's Scholars program, Mr. James Millar '11, Technology Manager, and Mr. JC Froelich '08, Engineering Department Chair brainstorming how to take recycled plastic materials and use it as 3D printer filament to create something new. When the idea was pitched to create recycled Christmas ornaments in time for the holiday season, they reached out to Mr. Bob Schenosky, Director of Entrepreneurial Solutions, to have his Entrepreneurship students assist in marketing and selling the ornaments. "The St. Andre's Scholars started collecting recycled water bottles after learning of the issue with microplastics polluting major water sources in Cleveland. Once we had all these recycled materials, we wanted to repurpose it and do something with it," says Mrs. Zorger. "My students are learning that there is a process and a cost that goes into creating any product. It's been exciting to see them take risks and have new ideas as they've brainstormed to envision the product. This project has created opportunities for the St. Andre's Scholars to learn more about the creative process and how to run a business. A large part of the St. Andre's Scholars program is working on employment skills and having my students be part of a business is an authentic way for them to build skills they'll use in the future."

"This project is just the start of our future," says Mr. Millar. "Our goal has always been to get people from many different disciplines using the Makers' Space in the Lowe Institute for Innovation. We want students of all backgrounds to see the real applications of the skills their learning in the classroom and we want teachers to grow their curriculum in ways they never thought of before. To see these three programs come together within just a few weeks to create a business and start a recycling initiative is truly amazing. It really shows how close knit the St. Ed's community is." With the overall goal of helping the St. Andre's Scholars program and empowering Entrepreneurship students to apply their skills through service-oriented learning, the St. Andre's Scholars Shop was created and released, for the first time ever, a limited edition, hand-numbered, 3D-printed St. Andre's Scholars Christmas ornament. Ornaments are currently being sold online at or through the Green & Gold Shop at St. Edward High School. With the proceeds going toward building the career-readiness skills curriculum for the St. Andre's Scholars program, St. Ed's hopes to grow the St. Andre's Scholars Shop even more to incorporate a larger recycling effort and create more products in the near future.

"This project has helped me play an active part in something much bigger than myself," says Bryce Madden '22, the Marketing Officer for this project. "Combining the St. Andre's Scholars program with students interested in entrepreneurship and engineering has given us all something great to experience together and to create something that'll lead to even more upcoming projects in the future."

"The students are almost completely in charge of all aspects of this project," says Mr. Millar. "The business component is done by the students, from distribution to product goals to cost analysis. In addition, the St. Andre's Scholars have been collecting and shredding clear, plastic water bottles that fills in the logo etched onto each ornament. This reduces plastic waste within the school and also reduces the amount of 3D plastic used to create each ornament. The project also gives the St. Andre's Scholars the opportunity to practice collaboration, communication and hand-eye coordination skills, but more importantly, it gives them something to be proud of. They get to be proud that they helped in creating a really cool product that will affect the environment in a positive way. Who would've thought that a simple ornament idea could explode into using recycled plastics and becoming a strong business? This really shows how St. Ed's approach to education is innovative by taking unique educational opportunities and turning them into something great." Taking the skills they've learned in the classroom, especially 3D-modeling and business planning, students successfully launched the St. Andre's Scholars Shop this week.

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