Entrepreneurial imagination

Guest blog by Melvin Digh

Special Education Teacher, R-S Central High School, Rutherford County, NC

This school year started like every other, except for one thing. I made my traditional beginning-of-the-year trip to the school supply closet to grab some supplies, knowing that some of my students lack basic school supplies. Unlike previous years, however, I was shocked to find bare shelves. There were no notebooks or pencils, and copy paper was scarce. Disappointed, I shrugged and planned a trip to Staples.

It wasn’t until later in the school year that I thought about this inconvenience. One of my students came into my room during my planning period, and asked if I would come down to the art room. Unsure of what I would find, I agreed and followed her down the hall.

When I got there, I was surprised to see wooden school desks painted with precision and detail. My student, beaming, said she did the one displaying the Tinker Bell design. I was surprised at how nice the desks looked, especially since I knew they had been in storage for a long time. I asked the art teacher what her plans were, and I was surprised by the answer.

Art students had been hit hard by the supply cuts, so they were unable to do some of the projects they wanted to do. I thought back to that day in the supply closet. I never thought about how the bare supply closet would affect an art class.

So students took orders for custom desk designs, and they sold them to buy their art supplies for the year. Inspired by their imagination and creativity, I placed an order for a custom-made desk for my daughter.

Our local newspaper learned of the students’ idea, too. A local reporter wrote an article, which resulted in so many orders that the students had to work after school to fill them.

When all the work was finished, the art class sold every desk and raised enough money to buy materials for their other projects. I’m proud to be a part of a group that used imagination and creativity to take themselves where they want to be.


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