By: Alicia Sands Lurry
On Wednesday, June 29, the XQ Super School Bus rolled by Price Middle School to celebrate D.M. Therrell High School being named a semi-finalist for the Atlanta Arts and Innovation Academy (AAIA) $10 million grant application.
During the event, dozens of students, parents, teachers and community members were invited to board the 47-foot modified school bus complete with a recording studio and interactive virtual walls. While touring the bus, visitors explored and learned to “rethink high school” as they shared their experiences and creative ideas for what it takes to discover, design, develop and re-imagine better high schools in America.
“This means so much to the Therrell community,” Therrell Principal Shelly Powell said of the XQ event and her school’s semi-finalist standing. “Our students are super excited to rethink their high school and bring about different experiences for themselves and their classmates. They’re looking forward to redesigning the high school experience for students.”
If awarded, AAIA will be Georgia’s first ever STEM-Arts integration and innovation school serving students interested in technological and scientific elements of film and theatrical arts. The grant application was developed by a team that included Therrell High School students and staff, parents, community members, business partners, and APS district office staff.
In its inaugural year, AAIA will serve approximately 100 students in grades 9-12, reaching eventual capacity of 400. The school will serve students currently zoned for Therrell High School.
In addition to the school bus, the XQ event featured an art station; writing wall to share thoughts and ideas; food and entertainment; and a virtual reality station that allowed students, teachers and parents to explore the evolution of classrooms and technology.
“This is awesome,” said parent Tess Glover, whose three children attend Sarah Smith Elementary and Sutton Middle School. “One size doesn’t fit all, and this project certainly shows that. This is something all students can benefit from.”
Zameh Omonuwa, a rising senior at Therrell High School, is just as excited about the XQ project.
“This project gives Therrell a better impression among the community and students,” she said. “Knowing that XQ is trying to help students and the community is a good thing.”