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Innovation Fair celebrates ingenuity of Fairview Park students

Fairview High School senior Alex Farkas with his welcome sign created from the wood of a tree trunk.

Fourth-grade students from Gilles-Sweet Elementary School discuss projects they’ve created. (West Life photos by Kevin Kelley)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Kevin Kelley
Fairview Park

A donation from the West Shore Rotary Club in the memory of a former Fairview Park City Schools superintendent is helping the district encourage students to think in a more innovative manner.

This month, the district marked the Fairview Innovation Challenge through an exhibition of student projects that showed creativity in the design and planning process. The event took place at Fairview High School’s Innovation Center, the former library that was converted into a makerspace studio. The Innovation Center houses 3-D printers, a laser cutter, a computer lab, an audio recording studio and a video and photography studio.

The event was held on the Global Day of Design, a campaign created by two educators to encourage schools to incorporate design in classroom learning.

Rotarians donated more than $5,000 to the John Babel Jr. Memorial Fund, named after the former superintendent who encouraged technological innovation in education during his tenure as the district’s leader from 1979 to 1992. The high school’s innovation center is also named after Babel.

According to Bill Wagner, the district’s current superintendent, the fund will pay for innovative educational activities throughout the district.

The Innovation Challenge highlighted two sets of student projects. First, students in all grade levels were challenged to work on a project that required extensive design skills.
For example, high school senior Alex Farkas created a welcome sign from the wood of a tree trunk. The final project included the Fairview High School logo.

Ray Gorsuch, another senior, created a fidget box that included an on-off button, a push-button light and a mouse wheel. He said he’d like to mass-produce the item and is thinking about launching a Kickstarter campaign to gain funding.

The second set of students at the Innovation Challenge were selected by teachers for having created exemplary learning portfolios. In recent years, district administrators have required students to maintain portfolios to have a history of their education.

Hannah Harte, a high school freshman, displayed poems, essays and short stories from her English classes on an iMac computer in the innovation center. Her online portfolio also included a presentation she made on sharks for biology class.

Creativity, design and innovation are elements of the Fairview Advantage, a skill set the district intends to impart to students for future success.

 

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