Two Monticello Middle School EAST students, Camry Burnett and Laura Barnett, have worked this year trying to resurrect a 3D printer that previous EAST students assembled from a DIY kit in 2014-2015. After many failed attempts, dead ends, and unfavorable reviews about kit 3D printers, the students approached the problem from a different angle, resulting in a technology grant from a local business to purchase a new printer.

Researching the needs and opportunities of having a 3D printer, Barnett and Burnett created a presentation and sought to form a community alliance.

EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) is a project-based, service learning model that is focused on physical results that rely on the school and community to provide meaningful project and opportunities to the students. The community becomes a wellspring for the student, a place where the project originates, and where the resources exist to solve the problems that arise. Business and community partnerships allow students to collaborate with companies to solve real-world problems.

EAST facilitator, Shawn Curtis, saw an opportunity to form a community partnership with a local business allowing the EAST program to grow outside the classroom and our community partnerships to grow within the district. He encouraged his students to research and create a presentation to present to Mike Ward, of War Eagle Boats.

Barnett and Burnett spent about two weeks researching and writing the proposal, identifying the needs and educational opportunities a 3D Printer could offer in their classroom, school, and community. The girls made a presentation to Ward on December 13 and received notification a couple days later that War Eagle would support the MMS EAST program with a $1,000 technology grant to purchase the 3D printer.

“It took us a while to research and write the proposal because this was out of our comfort zone and neither of us had any experience in this area, but we wanted to do our best,” Burnett said. “We were so excited to receive the grant because know it will improve our EAST program and offer more opportunities to future students in our district.”