Learning by Doing is Goal of Webster Groves High School's Chelsea Center
The center offers learning opportunities for students that take them out of the classroom and into the real world.
Three local teens who won a national award for a film they created for school credit are happy to be ambassadors for Webster Groves High School’s new experiential learning center.
Hannah Davidson, Jamie Garland and Katie Ribant won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, sponsored by Princeton University for high school students who have made a positive impact on race relations in their school or community.
The trio produced their film, "Colorblind," after a week-long trip to important Southern landmarks in the civil rights movement during the summer of 2010. They were part of the pilot program of the new Chelsea Detrick Experiential Learning Center.
See related story: Civil Rights Struggle Brought to Life Through Film by Webster Teens
“Learning by doing” outside the classroom is a great way to make learning stick," Ribant said, especially for “kids like me who just don’t soak up as much when you’re listening to a teacher or reading about it in a text book.”
Davidson agreed, saying she was surprised by how many facts and details she remembered about the civil rights movement after coming home from the trip.
Teacher Julie Burchett, who accompanied the students on their trip in 2010, was instrumental in establishing the Detrick Center. Earlier this year she was chosen by the Missouri State Society Daughters of the American Revolution as the 2012 Outstanding Teacher of American History.
Ribant said she signed up for the program learning Burchett, who had been her fifth grade teacher, was leading the tour. She recruited Davidson and Garland and all three said they gained much more than they expected. Garland even added film studies to her plans for college because of the trip.
The Chelsea Center sets up a variety of experiential learning opportunities for students outside of the classroom, including travel, internships and volunteer opportunities. Burchett helps guide the students in making connections between their experiences and book learning.
This summer, she is planning a second civil rights tour for students, as well as a tour of Civil War sites in Missouri and an oral history project on what life was like at the old Douglass High School, among other offerings. There is even a course on geocaching.