School project went beyond their wildest dreams
NINE GRADE 12 students and a teacher who believed in them created an extraordinary school project that surprised everyone, including themselves. Teacher Matt Rock at London Christian High School (www.LondonChristianHigh.ca) approached his vice-principal in January 2019 about doing things a little differently in his upcoming construction technology and design class. Intent on finding a way for his students to apply their skills to a real-life application, Rock came up with the idea of a 40-foot shipping-container-turned-classroom.
Each student would be responsible for a component of the design, including structural, electrical, solar, furniture, interior and exterior design, while two students would work on IT.
With no previous experience leading a project like this, Rock projected a budget of $30,000. His vice-principal approved the idea. "Our VP said, ‘Matt, it’s two courses. You’ll have the students all morning and I’ve told the students it will be the reason they get up in the morning,’" Rock recalls.
When he pitched the idea to his class they were excited but apprehensive about pulling off such a feat. "I had no plan B," says Rock. "It was a real faith leap for me. The fear was always there that it wouldn’t work, but I learned that sometimes trying things and failing isn’t the worst thing. You have to put yourself out there and talk the talk. We have to be the ones leading the charge if we want children to grow in their faith.
The students dedicated themselves to their roles, each receiving a mentor from the community to help with their specific trade. They worked tirelessly from February until the last day of school in June, bringing their vision to life. The metal shipping container morphed into a mobile classroom with seating for 20 students plus a teacher, complete with 22 computers, air conditioning, a PowerPoint projector, fans and three windows.
The costs grew alongside the project, topping the $40,000 mark. "A friend of mine said to approach ten companies and ask for $2,000 each. The next day he called again and said he sent the email out on my behalf," says Rock.
That’s when the calls started to roll in. "One morning we raised $10,000 alone. Each time I answered the phone someone had donated another $2,000. It was an amazing demonstration of God’s provision. I’d like to say there was an overwhelming peace, but a sense of fear and faith were present the whole time. But that’s real life," he says. "It was one of the richest jewels to take from the whole thing, to see God’s faithfulness in how He provided for that."
Rock and his students raised a total of $46,000, while the charity Hope Story raised an additional $10,000 and helped find the perfect recipients for the computer classroom – the Amani Primary School in Tanzania. It is expected to ship there by December where students are eagerly awaiting the gift of a lifetime. –JULIE FITZ-GERALD