SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — On Track Academy and Spokane Falls Community College are collaborating on a project that will benefit InvestED, a program dedicated to helping students in need.
What does this program call for? Beautiful works of stained glass.
"I think 2014 was the first year we did on some tables in one of the portable classrooms before we had this beautiful building," OTA Teacher Erin Bangle said. "And it's just grown. It's something unusual that they don't get to do anywhere else."
OTA student Claire Kozel says that the program has not only given her an opportunity to grow her skills in stained glass but also to grow alongside her classmates.
"Everyone in this class is great," Kozel said. "I've become super close with them this year and it's really fun. Being able to talk to people about glass and just like will complement each other's projects. Sometimes, we'll even help each other with certain things. Now, whenever I see stained glass in public or in a church or anything like that, I'll just go up to it and look at it because it's just it's the coolest art form. It's so unique. It's great."
While Bangle's class is a joy for students, it's anything but an easy craft.
"There's a lot of steps with this program," Bangle said. "They get to spend a little more time than in a more traditional setting where you only have 15 minutes a day. They've gone from doing little suncatchers to what they're working on there. And that's a huge growth curve. This is quality work. I'm really proud of them. They're great."
For Bangle, one thing about the program that benefits her students is how the skills they gain transfer into other areas.
"Measuring correctly, the collaboration with the community college was also just solid because a lot of our students go there, they get to make a connection there," Bangle said. " The whole thing was just, you know, a teacher mic drop we had, it's been great. When you get to bam, put them up there, It's like, 'oh my gosh, I did that.' I love watching their faces when they finished a big project."
"Stained glass is just so cool," Kozel said. "I think everyone should look into it."
If you'd like to own one of these pieces, there is an auction online. The stained glass works will be on display at four locations in Spokane, including the Hive, Liberty Park Library, Hillyard Library and the Shadle Park Library.