In February, students in the Brinkley High School EAST program joined 1,800 other students at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, for the 5th annual EAST Partnership Conference. The conference celebrated the students’ work on their high-tech community projects and was attended by state legislators, Arkansas First Lady Janet Huckabee, members of the federal Department of Education, among many others.
The Brinkley EAST program was one of 18 out of 74 Legacy schools to be awarded a superior rating for their project: Supporting Cancer Survivors in Monroe County, which provides information and support cancer survivors of Monroe County. The students also received the Outstanding Project Award.
In addition to its main project, Brinkley EAST Lab also presented its My Community Project, where students collected oral histories from long-time residents of Brinkley. As part of this project, the students researched the National Historic Register to locate Brinkley’s historic places, created 2D models of these historic homes, and produced a visitors’ guide book.
The Brinkley EAST Lab also presented various projects they have worked on with the East Arkansas Youth Consortium. The Brinkley EAST Lab has made a number of documentaries, including a documentary about local Blues musician John Weston, with the help of Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby from Appalshop, a media company out of Whitesburg, Kentucky. Appalshop is a documentary team that specializes in video documenting, editing, and production. This assistance was provided through the Mid South Delta Initiative.
EAST is a project-based, service-learning class that provides students with the most current, high-end technologies available in some of the most progressive fields in the world. Students, working in teams, tackle sophisticated, service-oriented projects and in the process become creative, adaptable learners who can solve unpredictable, real-world problems. EAST was first piloted seven years ago at Greenbrier High School in Arkansas. Since that time, this educational success story has expanded to over 200 schools in seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, and Mississippi.