UD students host after-school workshops

Eliza Poster and Izzy Abbott

Every Wednesday, the school opens its doors to local elementary and middle school kids to participate in HM 246, an afterschool program offering Upper Division student le educational and interactive classes in art history, ceramics, robotics, music, entrepreneurship and more.

The program, which began three years ago, was created for students who were interested in working on community service projects which fit a curriculum for kids, but were not capable of joining the Service Learning Team, Director of the Center for Community Values & Action Dr. Jeremy Leeds said.

The program gives students, ranging from ages five to 13 and from the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Riverdale Neighborhood House, PS 37, and Ittleson Center, the opportunity to learn and become passionate about topics which are not widely available, HM 246 Coordinator Drew McCann ‘13 said.

“The reason we call it HM 246 is because we’re on 246th Street, to emphasize we’re part of the neighborhood here,” Leeds said. “This is part of the Bronx and we’re opening up our facilities to our neighbors in the Bronx.”

The program makes the school an open environment to the community, McCann said. “It’s starting to feel like they are also welcomed here and they can explore the environment,” she said.

This program allows students to work with children, create their own curriculum, and delve into topics which they are interested in.

Sasha Matt (11) is one of the leaders of Art Detectives this trimester, a program which creates art history lessons for younger students.

Sasha took over the position that was held by Cameron Chavers (12) during first trimester and created a new lesson plan. “We didn’t exactly pick up where they left off; we kind of did our own thing entirely,” Sasha said.

HM 246 also incorporates hands-on arts, such as ceramics, into its program.

“It’s really important for them to see that it’s not necessarily about getting this shining end product, but it’s more about the process.” Emily Bleiberg (12), one of the leaders of the ceramics program, said.

Ethan Matt (12) created the music class three years ago. He previously spent time working alongside professional music producers and learning their craft.

“I just wanted to reach out to the local community and help some kids make some music,” Ethan said.

After dividing the kids into two groups, songwriting and music production, he puts together the lyrics and the beats to create original songs. Ethan wants the students to “learn how to collaborate, be creative, take risks, and feel happy while working,” he said.

The entrepreneurship program, run by Tyler Jonas (11), allows for participants to develop their enterprising skills by creating their own business.

“Many of the [participants] already have business ideas and just need to explore them more and learn more about it. I think kids shouldn’t be afraid to start a business, even at a young age,” Jonas said.

The Shark Tank projects are one of many types of presentations which will be displayed at a show presenting the works created during the program taking place in March later this year. In addition, other mediums such as ceramic works will be on display with a backdrop of the original songs produced by the kids in the music program.

Grace Hill (12) and five other students assembled in the fall to curate a show displaying the work of the kids in each program and met with the other leaders to discuss what they thought would best represent their work over the year.