“The Maker Space is a mess. Everything is on the tables and we have no room to work. We need to move the shelves with the supplies, because they take up all the work space on that table and it is really wobbly; one of the Seedlings could knock it over easily.” These observation came from Jake, this morning, a couple hours after I walked into the Maker Room and turned back around willing myself not to clean it all up.
Yes, Jake – the kid who invented the infamous Posibot and was considered for the Fallonventions Segment on the Tonight Show last year – otherwise known as the idea guy. His schemes are the soundtrack to our days; Jake (no exaggeration here) talks everything out - thinks out loud. He currently has three or (possibly) four (big) projects all at varying stages of completion right now. However, those were disregarded, again, today as he took on the larger venture of establishing a habitable, organized, and usable space to work.
Jake is one of those people who not only thinks outside the box, he doesn't even realize there is a box in the first place. He often sees the most obvious solutions when the rest of us seem to be working on a completely different problem, because he is so fully open to exploring all of the possibilities.
With that said, when it comes to his own work, Jake is also a perfectionist. He gets frustrated and discouraged when his creations don't turn out exactly as he had envisioned (maybe one of the reasons there a few unfinished pieces of art hanging around).
Jake's fascination with hands-on, creative projects --- from a variety of arts and crafts, photography, writing short stories, building “tiny houses,” to baking and decorating cupcakes informs and binds all the components of his individualized learning plan together. His phone is his research tool, camera, how to manual (for everything), calendar, entertainment, and recipe book, as well as communication device. A world of knowledge quite literally lives in his back pocket and he has the skills to access it all. Anything he can imagine is within reach in seconds.
One of the original three students from last September, Jake is an integral and vital member of the DRC community. He is our official welcomer, spokesperson, and event planner – it is pretty much guaranteed that no holiday will go by unnoticed, unplanned, or uncelebrated at DRC. His genuine warmth is a vibrant beacon that radiates compassion, pure silliness, as well as generosity, and, inspires us all to emulate his example.
by Maria Corse
“So, is there anything else you need from me?” is always my last question during a mentoring session, and, the one I asked Takoda today, as my finger hovered over the mouse to click the “meeting finished” tab. He responded in his usually laid back manner, “as a matter of fact, yes, I would like to take a class to learn pyrotechnics.” I think my mouth was hanging open for a few seconds before I replied, “What? Pyrotechnics, what is that?” The only part of the word I really heard was “pyro”, as in fire! Takoda calmly reminded me that it is the art of fireworks and explosives. After the initial shock wore off and I jokingly made sure he understood this would be something he could learn off-site … we began investigating resources.
Takoda is one of those students who is always surprising me. He is quiet and reserved by nature, however, frequently projects moments of pure comic genius. At one point last January, after he had been at Deep Root Center for only a couple of days, we all concluded that we needed to follow him around with a recording device to catch all of the witticisms that regularly tumbled off his tongue.
Takoda is rock steady, dependable, and incredibly patient – he arrives about the same time everyday, takes up residence on one of the chairs in the teen chill space, places earbuds in --- generally ignores the hub-bub around him and carries on with his countless independent studies, games, and compulsive reading. He has a wide variety of interests from the classics (Greek, Roman, and Japanese civilizations), any kind of history, to, well, pyrotechnics, and, he is not afraid to seek out the information he needs to learn more about any subject, or, to share his depths of knowledge with the other students.
Reading is one of Takoda's greatest passions and his appetite for books is unquenchable; he quite literally devours them. He can read a 700 page sci-fi - fantasy tome in a few hours, and, he comprehends every detail --- we know, because, in disbelief, we have quizzed him multiple times.
We are grateful for this gentle giant in our midst, who is amendable to almost anything asked of him, from reaching something on a high shelf, moving a piece of furniture, to taking part in a class. Although, I have been impressed, recently, with his ability to assert himself and say “no” when he feels that agreeing to a request does not match his personal aspirations. This is just one more hallmark of the new maturity that rests comfortably on Takoda's shoulders. He has decided to stay with us for another school year, instead of finishing High School early, and, I am honored to have the privilege of watching him grow and flourish towards the bright future that surely awaits --- whether it is a career in blowing things up, writing books, or continuing his studies of history and the classics.
by Maria Corse
“Sometimes I am made of metal and sometimes I am made of smoke.” A direct quote, taken seconds ago, from one of the coolest kids I have ever met, while he was acting out his latest imaginative game with his friend Oliver. Christian literally spends his days at Deep Root Center totally engaged in creating the fantastical world he has envisioned in that moment. Somedays he is a super villain, a Pokemon, or the owner of a video arcade, and others he is a character from a scary show that he has conceived.
Christian spends hours building 3D props and writing stories that are more like scripts for the constantly running dialog for all of his imaginary scenarios. He hates to remove any of his “sets” from the Center. Hence, we currently have an extensive variety of video arcade games made from cardboard boxes under one table, a window (theater) laying on the art table, and a variety of assorted pieces on another shelf.
When I first met Christian as a seven year old, in August 2015, he told me that he did not like to read and that he did not want to draw, because he was a “bad artist”. I celebrated, months later, when he drew a picture for the first time. He still refuses to participate in any “classes” and usually says, “no” to every single suggestion presented to him. If anything smacks of being traditional or formal, he automatically refuses to get involved. Everything has to be his original idea to be considered valid.
Christian has an interesting relationship with math. He refuses to sit and work on a math sheet, yet, I am pretty sure he has figured out some pretty advanced conceptual stuff by exploring and playing with a calculator on his own. One day, he tried to interpret the problem he had drawn out and was working on, but I didn't understand.
His ingenuity, kindness, compassion, and independence are the hallmarks of Deep Root Center philosophy. He is learning to read and write, because his personal goal is to emulate R.L. Stein, his favorite author, by writing books and the scripts for his TV shows, as well as directing, and acting in them. His dad told me that he watches, actually studies, the GooseBumps show at home, rewinding it often to analyze how a particular scene was filmed.
Christian is a master showman (ringmaster) who ensures that DRC has our own, personal, on site, performance troupe. His sense of humor is subtle and sly, but wickedly funny, and, he moves from one character to the next with the ease and impeccable timing of a vaudeville veteran. To say Christian carries the show is a huge understatement, we all understand that he is the producer, director, as well as the star, who generously shares the spotlight with his friends.
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