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In the fall of 2013, a group of teachers started the ICC, Interdisciplinary Creative Collaborative, at Garrett High School in Garrett, Indiana. This is the testimonial from one of the founding students, Donavan, who is now in his second year of college.
When offered the opportunity to join the ICC in eighth grade, getting ready to start high school, to say I didn’t quite know what to expect would be an understatement. When we, the “guinea pigs”, were first introduced to the concept of the ICC, it seemed to be this amazing way to intertwine all of the major learning requirements of high school together in order to boost collaboration and critical thinking while reducing the amount of time and stress to get everything done. However, not all journeys follow the plan laid out for them, the beginning of the ICC being no exception. The best way I can explain the first semester is by saying that you can’t succeed without first failing... a lot. The idea of weaving all different subjects together and working on multiple areas of study at the same time to see how everything can connect and work with each other is far easier said than done. In our first semester, we gave it our best shot. We laid out classes with the required standards and students were kind of “let loose” to choose how they wanted to meet their credits, whether it be through seminars, independent work, or some other form. With a general idea put out, it then came down to execution. In my opinion, this is the first failure that lead to the future success and growth I saw in the ICC. As students worked on projects, there were bumps in the road such as students not understanding how to weave things together, students falling behind because their concepts were to broad or narrow, etc.. Almost any problem you could imagine pretty much happened and come December, a lot of students were freaking out. However, at the end of the day, we got through it and made it to winter break.
It was at this time that the teachers of the ICC took a step back and re-evaluated the situation. Fast forward over the next few years, the ICC grew from a tiny program that attempted to weave subjects together, to a program that works to teach students critical thinking through interdisciplinary learning. What takes place in history could apply to multitude of different subjects. Over the years of my ICC experience, I can say that I grew as a student and a person. Rather than leaving as the person I came in as, someone who was shy and nerdy, I left with a voice that was not afraid to create discussion over sensitive subject materials and could handle it. I learned how to weave multiple content areas together in order to be able to elevate discussions to a higher level that helped to spark discussions with others and inspire critical thinking and ideas that people might not have known that they had.
At the end of the day, despite the train wreck that the ICC appeared to be at first, I wouldn’t have changed anything because it is through the failures and hard times that I have become the person I am today. If I had to pick one phrase I feel would most apply to the ICC, it would be as follows, “The only limit is how far you are willing to go.” To me, this means that the only thing holding someone back is how far they are willing to go, how much are the willing to fail, how much do they want to grow as a person? It’s only when we learn from our mistakes that we can grow and become better and it’s from the ICC that I have become who I am.