Editor's Note (The View From Here)

Future Is Bright

The passion and creativity of several students is proof that amazing things are going to happen.

So often we hear about how our education system is failing, how we are not keeping pace with other countries, how our schools are putting the future of our country in jeopardy. All that I have to say to those who believe the hype is, you are wrong.

Last week at the Council of Educational Facility Planners, International (CEFPI) conference, I was fortunate enough to meet two high school students from Alaska, Ariel Hasse and Zachary Neubauer, who showed me just how bright our future can be. Ariel is currently a junior at Mat Su Career and Technical High School in Alaska. Zac, a high school senior, also attends the University of Alaska, Anchorage fulltime. Ariel and Zac presented their project called High School of the Future, a competition where students across the globe are asked to, “bring their own brand of creativity to the planning and design process” and design the dream high school of the future.

As they put it, “the story of High School of the Future begins with a group of dysfunctional, overly motivated students who decided to turn their summer into a memorable and exciting adventure.” Ariel had participated in CEFPI’s Middle School of the Future program, but winning that competition wasn’t enough — it ignited a passion. That, with the help of Zac, Courtney Monroe and a few friends, was the start of their own competition — High School of the Future. They developed the criteria for the competition, a website, futurehighschool.org/home.html, a video explaining the program, relationships with mentors and partnerships to help with funding the program.

It may have started as “their” project, but it is now open to high school students across the globe. In fact, they even suggested that the members of a team could be from different schools or even countries. Registration for their 2014 competition opened Sept. 20, with submissions due Feb. 7, 2014.

Meeting these students, listening to their thought process, and seeing what they accomplished was truly amazing. Many of those who saw their presentation asked the students if they were interested in coming to work for their company. For me, the question was… “can I come and work for you!” If students like this are our future, then the future is bright!

This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of School Planning & Management.

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