Julieta Arias had lost all interest in high school and preferred staying home to play video games or work on her art. Now 18, she about to graduate with not only good marks and her own brand, but real world knowledge of running a business.
did Air Jordan Women Size completely different things than I would in regular school, she says. got my art out Air Jordan 11s there, worked with clients and did a lot of business stuff I never had before. My mom saw a big change, I went to school every day, got a big improvement in my marks. I will be so sad to leave.
If it sounds like child play, think again. The Oasis Skateboard Factory: School / SK8 Street Art Design Services, located near the Kensington Market area, centres around the economy of street culture, giving teens hands on experience in the industry. Students build skateboards, design original graphics and work with local artists and businesses that help them market and display their work.
Previously unproductive students leave with brimming portfolios, connections and an understanding of how small enterprise works.
Founding teacher Craig Morrison grew the concept from a single class with a street art focus, part of the Oasis Alternative Secondary School, to a full program that can earn students compulsory and elective high school credits over one or two semesters.
began working on a project with kids building skateboards and quickly saw how successful it was, and how interested the kids were. Skateboarding was not just a vehicle to physically get kids to school, but a vehicle to get them engaged in something, Morrison says.
realized there was an economy around this too. I started linking the business of building Air Jordan 23s skateboards to the design element and talking about entrepreneurship. So then I had all these kids who were never hooked into school before and now they were. And we started to link all the curriculum through this cool thing the skateboard.
Two teachers oversee the youngsters, who find their way there through counsellors, information sessions, or by word of mouth.
The program is currently running at capacity though, and has just submitted an expansion proposal to the school board seeking a new space a working shop front and art gallery with a classroom at the back and room for even more students.
Initially it attracted dudes and was all male. But now half of the students are female, thanks to the work of teacher Lauren Hortie.
Since Hortie came on board, it been possible to expand and allow kids to rack up all of the all important credits needed to go on to post secondary education.
would come to us and be hugely successful. Then they leave to finish in regular school and bomb out. We are skewing older now and act as a bridge between school and college, and the real world. so there no time for kids to lose interest. We keep things moving along, it a really full engaging day. Depending on what going on, students could be working on client projects, making their own personal boards or getting a talk from a small business owner.
Obviously, given the nature of the school, kids are often dealing with problems, but Hortie feels the environment Air Jordan 16s allows them to their problems at the door. The kids feel a sense of accomplishment. Of course there is always some spillover, but we have supports too a counsellor and social worker who can help.
Students of the OSF have gone on to animation school, comic art design, OCAD or to small business programs.
Of course, the expectation is not that 26 students will start 26 skateboard brands, that unrealistic, says Hortie, but they do a lot more work than they would at mainstream school. they learn life skills like turning up on time, being accountable, advocating for themselves, talking to adults, pitching ideas.
really like to expand to be a storefront business. It will be a challenge for us, the board is closing schools downtown so to convince them to pay to rent a place will be difficult. Indeed, a big part of the program success relies on collaborations with generous community backers who come on board for individual projects.
For example, world renowned artist Kevin Lyons, who has worked with brands like Nike, Converse and Stussy has, with the help of students, made a pair of hand painted skateboard decks to sell on behalf of the OSF.
The school has also just signed its first formal partnership with international marketing agency Anomaly.
This union includes a Air Jordan 3s mentorship for each student, as well as a learning series aimed to help the students develop entrepreneurial and brand building skills. Anomaly also commissioned the students to create an original art installation for its offices on Spadina Ave.
For teens, the process pulls back the veil on business and lets them see how things work, from a small skate shop right up to a corporate giant.
Some students even go on to take co op courses with collaborators.
Julieta, who hopes to take a business course at George Brown College, worked with customized apparel brand Sugar Bomb on her placement.
She helped design shirts and get orders ready for shipping.
was such a great experience. I got to see all this cool stuff, things I want to do in the future with my brand.