Grant Brings New Opportunities to Gwinnett County’s Mill Creek High

A new project designed to offer students one more way to prepare for the future is underway at Georgia’s Mill Creek High School.

It’s called the EPIC Makerspace. And it serves as an area devoted to students working on projects in engineering and entrepreneurship.

“We want to inspire creativity in our students and encourage them to pursue their ideas,” Mill Creek High engineering teacher Kelly D. said about the project, which opened at the beginning of the school year.

Kelly said the space is equipped with materials students can use to turn engineering ideas into reality. And it’s also set up with tools to help students market those ideas and turn them into small school-run businesses.

Kelly said she’s been involved with the project since the idea first came into being in early 2016. It’s part of the school’s four-year EPIC program, created to promote collaborative learning through hands-on projects.

“An idea that’s at the core of EPIC is that it’s OK to fail, but you have to keep trying until you succeed,” she said. “You will learn through the experience. A makerspace is an ideal piece of that learning and a natural fit for the program, both engineering and entrepreneurship.”

Infinite Energy helped fund the new class space with a $14,000 education grant at the start of 2017. As a company that supports education in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM), Mill Creek’s project was a good fit. In total, Infinite Energy gave more than $47,000 to Gwinnett County schools at the beginning of the year.

“We were so excited and grateful to be a recipient of this grant,” Kelly said. “I had just visited our middle school to talk about the program when I got the phone call, and it brought tears to my eyes.”

Kelly said projects like these—projects focused on STEAM—are a great way to educate through application and experience.

“It makes the knowledge more meaningful and engages the student,” she said. “We often think about how we have to prepare our students for jobs that might not exist yet, and STEAM-based learning is an excellent way to teach those critical 21st Century skills.”