Terry is ‘gone boarding’: teacher writes grant for new class


Terry Szpieg

Szpieg is a master builder who made this canoe, and will make surfboards with his class next year if he receives grant money.

Lily Hojnacki, Staff Writer

It is not uncommon for students in the modern education system to feel disconnected from the topics or subjects they are learning about. It can be hard to sit at a desk for hours on end, trying to absorb the information being thrown at you when you cannot grasp how it relates to real life experiences or skills. However, the possibility of a new class coming to the high school, called Gone Boarding, could offer a breath of fresh air to East Grand Rapids.

This class was founded by two teachers from Forest Hills Eastern High School with a goal of engaging and empowering students to pursue their passions in the 21st century. ‘The Gone Boarding’ program incorporates science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics by helping students design and build their own boards. These could include surfboards, snowboards, skateboards, longboards, stand up paddle-boards, and wakeboards.

Along with the support of Principal Weigel and the high schools own art teacher, Terry Szpieg, a grant was proposed to The East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation Board to bring this class to the high school.

The program is run differently in each school, so Szpieg explains, “We’re doing a modified version of the Gone Boarding program. The Forest Hills Schools do a PE component as well as a design and build component, but right now we’re just going to focus on the design and build component.” Szpieg also says that for the first time the class is offered at East, it will be focused on longboards, snowboards, and surfboards.

“The very nature of the course moves students from being the reluctant, passive, standard observer, to that of the active participant in a completely hands-on experience,” Szpieg said.