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


Inspired by past CAMVETS Make-a-thon events to create solutions to help injured veterans with everyday life, St. Edward High School planned to host an Innovation Day with a day-long make-a-thon next month surrounding the challenges of mental health in our St. Ed's, Lakewood and Cleveland communities. Knowing the great impact mental health has on our communities, St. Ed's wanted to foster servant leadership among students within our culture of innovation to effectively develop solutions and serve our community. To adapt to current changes, the make-a-thon will continue to be held but as a virtual event that will not only touch on mental health, but also channel a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship to create products, inspired by current events, that will assist those during a crisis. The virtual make-a-thon will also invite experts from the mental health field along with St. Ed's alumni who will serve as team captains to aid student participants in developing solutions for various challenges. These solutions will range anywhere from apps to plans for organizations or support groups and will lead to future efforts to put their best solutions into action. Student leaders Coleman Isner '20, Richard Perrins '20, Thomas Byrne '20, Adrian Johnson '21 and Hunter Velasquez '20 have teamed up to ensure the online make-a-thon will create new products inspired by the international impact of the coronavirus and tools to help individuals in our community combat mental health issues.

"Humanity is currently enduring an event that caught the world off-guard and our global response has involved immense uncertainty and severe methods. The St. Ed's community has felt that response at home, and many of our plans and events have been postponed or suspended. My fellow student leaders and I have been planning our Innovation Day since the beginning of the school year, but with new changes in place, we needed to evolve our ideas," says Coleman Isner '20. "In the spirit of innovation at St. Ed's, we're now going to host the make-a-thon in a Google Hangout and provide a means by which our peers can work together and develop solutions for the challenges of our time. We want students to ask themselves 'What have we learned?' from this pandemic, and apply the leadership, programming, math, English, history, and other skills that we've gained in the classroom to a greater understanding of the challenges our community, nation, and the wider world face. I hope that this make-a-thon will act as a step in the right direction toward maintaining the strength and solidarity of our community."

"I think the COVID-19 pandemic inspired us in a number of ways. Firstly, it provided us with a relevant, interesting topic for students to tackle but, most importantly, it showed that St. Ed's is determined to pursue our goals of personal improvement and creative thinking regardless of challenges we face," says Richard Perrins '20. "Persisting with the program that we have been working on all year will really show the grit and resilience that Edsmen have. Although the make-a-thon will be online, we hope that it will continue St. Ed's innovative culture by persisting through hardship to come up with a world-changing idea."

"Make-a-thons are ultimately built on collaboration and, by adapting the challenge a little bit, we're still able to make it happen," says Coleman. "We're excited to offer a virtual experience by which we can think about solutions to the problems at hand in a creative manner."

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