On a Wednesday in April, we are working in the shop at Huffman High School, painting scrap pieces of wood and metal and fashioning together a makeshift set of stairs.
In that moment, soon-to-be graduate Theodore Tyson turns to me and says, “Is this all because of my idea?”
“Sure is,” I said.
“That’s awesome,” he said. “That’s really, really cool.”
And I wasn’t lying. This so-called ‘Build Day’ has been the result of a semester-long planning effort that all started when seniors Tyson, Martel Sanders, and Carlos Smith sat down across from Career Development Conference volunteer Yawntreshia Coleman and shared their mutual love of and appreciation for art.
What emerged was an idea for a community arts project, built from scrap materials donated from MAKE Birmingham and individuals in the community and with the help of other Academy students and middle schoolers from the Gifted and Talented Education program at Huffman Middle. In May, Tyson and Sanders, along with fellow students Jayson Perkins, Johnny Stamps, and Rodrecquez Magwood presented about the project, entitled “A Huffman Child’s Vision,” in the auditorium of the Birmingham Museum of Art, where the piece stayed on display in the student art wing for several days.
It’s about reaching your goals,” said Tyson, describing the finished product, “and how there will always be someone or something holding you back, but you keeping fighting.”
If you need to see it to believe it, then you’re in luck: check out the video below to see the students in action and learn more about what it meant to them to fulfill their own visions.