Students are leading the way for innovation at Grand River Academy during the 2017 - 2018 academic year. They have examined current spaces on campus, voted on their top picks for transformations to be made to these existing spaces as a school, and have now created a student collaboratorium where they are working on making these changes into a reality.
One visible example of these student-driven projects as winter nears is the creation of GRA's outdoor ice rink. Warmer weather did not stop John Wilcox '18 from taking charge on inspiring and working with other students, faculty, and staff to begin the creation of a cold-weather outside activity. In collaboration with GRA facility director Joel Laughlin, the rink is now ready and just waiting for colder temperatures so that students can enjoy an outside activity for the next few months.
This project is just the start of other collaborative ideas teaching students the skills necessary to thrive outside of GRA's structured and supportive environment. As a boarding school, incorporating all projects into curricular and extracurricular aspects is essential for student growth. From ideas such as a building and maintaining a greenhouse, bee-keeping, entrepreneurial projects, and more, it's incorporating the traditional disciplines of math, science, and English into real-world examples so that students are motivated for the next step beyond high school.
As Headmaster Tim Viands shares: "Technology and the workplace is changing. Preparing GRA's students for the future must also adapt to these changes. Education is more than just success in the classroom, it's also about success in life." Students are the driving force behind these changes on campus. By providing students ownership of these projects, they are showing the motivation to succeed, and this will translate in future endeavors.