When a tragic event happens in a community, the members of the community come together in an emotional connection of support and hope. When our city of San Bernardino, California experienced such an event in 2015, a tragic mass shooting, our children felt compelled to be lights in the community, as children often are in times are darkness. In my iSTEAM Lab, students wanted to make something. Making is a very personal experience for a maker, it’s an experience that draws creativity through passion. Students were passionate about the object they wanted to create. They wanted something that showed they had not given up hope, that they were in fact hopeful that light always shines during times of darkness. During times of difficulty, with the right mindset, there is always a way to see light and to see hope, and the students at Bing Wong Elementary wanted to illuminate the path to hope.
What they ultimately came up with (after much brainstorming), was to make luminary candle holders out of laser cut and engraved wood. They graphically and mathematically designed the candleholders using CorelDraw, seeking images that symbolize pride, peace, and hope in their community. They fabricated them using a laser cutter, and ultimately used their finished product to promote social action. They decided they want to sell these items at our community’s memorial events taking place this week, donating all funds received to families of victims.
It’s fitting that our school district’s motto is Making Hope Happen. For the past few years, our the San Bernardino City Unified School District in partnership with the city, has pursued a mission to spread the infectious power of hope. We want our children to have a vision of their future success. We want them to have the emotional commitment and motivation to pursue excellence while serving others. We want them to believe in their sense of purpose. Our school district has a vision to develop a thriving and innovative community where every student is a lifelong learner and successful in reaching their hopes and aspirations.
I know our community has all the resources it needs to make hope happen in the lives of our students. We make connections, draw inspiration from each other, and learn together. When we as learners, both student and teacher, design and become our own solution to the struggles we face, we have the ability, will, talent, and dedication to thrive and innovate. When students are designing in the iSTEAM Lab, they become a part of their designs and their designs become a part of them. Making something becomes making something of value, which becomes confidence in our ability to make something of value, which becomes visualizing our value, which becomes hope. When students are trusted to design and make, they’re given the opportunity to choose their own path to success. These small luminary candles are designs brought to life through hope, making hope happen for everyone.