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Beach Middle School Students Develop Skills for the Future

Story by Crystal Hayduk, photos by Randall Lee

Art, technology, and design projects were on display at Beach Middle School (BMS) on Jan. 31 for the second annual Creative Expression Exhibition evening. The event had been rescheduled from Jan. 24, when it was canceled due to inclement weather. (Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts, neither the Fiddle Club nor Jazz Band could perform on the rescheduled evening).

There were many innovative design projects displayed at this year’s show.

Late last spring, the tech and design program received three Glowforge engravers, which cut, engrave, and score many different materials. Teacher Brian Boos said the students design a wide variety of projects made from wood, leather, and cork to name just a few.

Chelsea’s Hardwood Solutions donated one of the engravers, in addition to an ongoing supply of wood. Washtenaw Intermediate School District funded the second machine, while the district purchased the third (smaller, portable) engraver. The district also covers the cost of software that interfaces with the engravers.

After viewing the multitude of amazing projects in the large tech and design room, one student’s mother said she wishes she had been able to take these classes when she was in school. “My daughter loves doing this kind of work,” she said.

Although performances by the music programs were missed, the quiet supported the mental space for families to peruse and discuss the art displayed in two classrooms and a long hallway.

Photo by Kim Eder: Lucas Federico (gr. 6) holds his ceramic pencil holder, a dragon inspired by his favorite book series, Wings of Fire.

Sixth grader Lucas Federico showed his dragon pencil holder to his family. He based his design on Moonwatcher, a protagonist in his favorite book series, Wings of Fire. “There are 16 books, and I’ve read them all three times,” he said, as he cradled his ceramic piece.

Federico’s only complaint about art class is that he doesn’t get enough of it. Art teacher Kim Eder and Boos said sixth graders take six weeks of each required exploration course. But Federico was happy to learn that he’ll get nine weeks of art and technology courses when he’s in seventh and eighth grades.

Eder said the exhibition is a place for students to publicly display the creative work they do every day. The classes help students develop the skills of the Portrait of a Graduate: communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.      

Eder said students’ artwork is possible thanks to grants from the Chelsea Education Foundation. “Art supplies are expensive—especially clay and glaze,” she said. “They learn so much from every step of these projects, and we’re thankful for the opportunities having the supplies gives to them.”

 

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