PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At Conwell Eagan Catholic High School, EAST is where ideas come to be explored.
“I always tell my kids I’m not going to really reward you doing things that you already know how to do. I want you to do things that you don’t know how to do,” said Josh Beauchamp, teacher of the EAST Department at Conwell Eagan Catholic High School.
EAST is a technology-based class where the only assignments students are given are the ones the students assign to themselves. The goal? To create solutions for what matters to them at the moment.
“You’re always being told what to do in other classes—you’re given an assignment, you’re given the steps to find that assignment. But in here you’re really taking on your own, you have to have that determination , that will to get something out of what you’re doing,” said Delaney Lindberg.
They’re then provided with advanced technology that crosses various categories of creative construction. Projects spanning from fidget spinners to desks for the physically disabled.
“The task that Tommy set for himself — we had a student who was on crutches for a while, he broke his leg fairly severely in a football game and he was in a wheelchair. Tommy and another student are working on sort of folding hinged desk design,” Beauchamp said.
So how does an idea like this portable and foldable desk come alive?
The students pitch their solutions to the community in hopes of securing a partnership that will bring their ideas out of their head into the world.
“If it’s not real what’s the point of designing? We design to make it come true,” said student Tommy Lee.