MHHS East Attends EASTCon22: Build Up

Brianna Ifland, Writer/Editor

Note that all photos are courtesy of EAST in Mountain Home and EAST Initiative on Facebook

Tuesday, March 15 to Thursday, March 18, 30 EAST students in grades 4-12 attended EASTCon 2022: Build Up. Though it was a blended experience, the Mountain Home program had the privilege of attending in-person at the Hot Springs Convention Center. 

As per the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, “The EAST Initiative [is] a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Little Rock (Pulaski County)… EAST, originally an acronym for Environmental and Spatial Technology, is an educational program that combines elements of technology education, collaborative teamwork, and service learning in a model that stresses student engagement.” 

They set up a booth with six featured projects: 

1. Stop the flow

Stop the Flow is a project aiming to make feminine products more accessible to high school girls. 3-D printed dispensers are placed in the bathrooms for easy access. Computer science students helped with the 3d designs and printing. 

2. Sensory wall

The sensory wall is at the Junior High campus in the special education hall. It’s available for students to decompress when they are having a difficult time in class. Funding for this project was provided through a grant with the Mountain Home Education Foundation. 

3. Overcome

Overcome is EAST’s third project with the Drug Task Force; it’s a series of videos about anxiety. They also provide resources and coping mechanisms for students. There are three videos in total, with teachers, counselors, and students. All can be found on the MHHS EAST Youtube channel. 

4. Junior High 360 Tour

For this project, they used a 360 camera to capture images of important spaces in Junior High, stitched them together, and the collection will be on the junior high website. This resource is “mainly for kids [transitioning] from BVA or are totally new to the school [district].” 

5. Big Lil

Big Lil focuses on high school and middle school female mentorship and partnership. High school girls are mentors, or “Bigs,” and are each assigned to a middle school girl– their “Lil.” 

“We meet once a month after school at the [Schliemann] Health and Wellness Center,” says Big Allison Guinn. “We usually have guest speakers and provide snacks, crafts, games, and talk with the Lils.” 

6. Best of Baxter County

Students realized there were businesses in the area that went overlooked and, as a result, made a series of videos to highlight them. So far, the project has interviewed two businesses: Cove Coffee and Sharp Edges. They interviewed the owners to get a behind-the-scenes look. They’re currently working on getting the videos uploaded to the Chamber of Commerce website. Unfortunately, their Mac crashed, so the videos aren’t available for streaming even on their Youtube channel; however, they’re in the process of restoring or refilming.

In addition to their presentation, students participated in competitions. Pinkston Middle School students Hunter Ramsey, Harrison Baker, Christian Chamberlain, and Ford Coleman won the Microcontrolling Everything for The Retriever Tracker. 

Junior Trey Czeschin and Senior Elizabeth Harris won the Everyday Heroes for their First Responders Video. Harris says they, “worked with the athletic department and our local first responder department and gathered photos to incorporate into a video that we showed on the jumbotron [at the football game] to honor our first responders.” 

Senior Darren Blount was the first place Tech Support Olympiad (TSO) finalist with 58 points, while 8th graders Kinley Puckett and Daelyn Harper were finalists in the 3D Print it Up competition. 

Involvement went beyond competition, however– junior Audrey Young was one of the two EastCon22 Social Media Reporters. Students also attended breakout sessions– workshops about all things EAST. 

“The two I attended were about interview skills and creative careers,” recalls Czeschin. “[Overall], it was a good experience; you got to go around and see cool booths. I got to meet a bunch of people and it was very fun to go around and just talk with random people about stuff they were passionate about.”

More information about the event can be found on their Facebook page, EAST at Mountain Home High School.