SNOW HILL – A Snow Hill Middle School teacher is one of 12 finalists in a nationwide contest that could earn the school’s library a makeover.
With the help of his students, Beau Williams, library media specialist at Snow Hill Middle, entered a classroom furniture giveaway offered by KI. Williams and his students designed their dream learning space, which now needs online votes from the public in order to win $40,000 worth of new furniture.
“Right now we’re trying to get the word out,” Williams said. “Our kids deserve it.”
Williams said his fifth-grade students were already fans of Tinkercad, an app they use to create 3D designs, when he saw an advertisement for the KI Learning Space Design Competition. Noting the similarities to Tinkercad, he asked if they’d want to help him enter. They were quick to agree.
“The design ideas came from the kids,” he said.
Williams and his students designed a dynamic media center that includes an e-sports and gamification center as well as a variety of lab, teamwork and quiet areas to support all students’ learning styles.
“With 58% of students at Snow Hill coming from low-income households, Mr. Williams aims to provide a school haven and hub for students and families who face daily challenges,” an announcement from KI reads.
Voters can see the design, as well as those of the other contest finalists, when they go to the website ki.com/designtowin.
Out of hundreds of entries in four categories—Eastern, Central, Western and Libraries—the library design submitted by Williams was one of 12 selected as contest finalists. With voting ending Jan. 31, Williams only has a week to get the votes needed to beat two other finalists in the library category of the competition. Grand prize winners will be announced Feb. 2.
Williams would love to see Snow Hill’s design, created with input from its students, come to reality with the $40,000 prize. Even if it doesn’t, he’s hopeful the experience might have inspired more interest in engineering and design.
“I’m all about supporting student creativity,” he said.
To vote, community members are encouraged to use their cellphones, iPads or laptops to visit ki.com/designtowin.
This is the second year KI, a furniture manufacturer headquartered in Wisconsin, has hosted the competition.
“We’re thrilled to host our learning space design competition for the second year in a row and expand this year’s prizes to reflect the learning that happens in and out of the traditional classroom,” said Bryan Ballegeer, vice president of education markets at KI. “We were incredibly inspired by the creativity of last year’s contestants. We’re eager to give educators the opportunity to design their own learning spaces to meet their needs and the needs of their students.”
While Williams is currently trying to raise awareness of the KI poll in an effort to improve the school’s library, he’s also in the running for the “Trailblazing Teacher” recognition through the Canva Community Awards. Canva users can vote for Williams at canva.com/community-awards.