Think back to a teacher or coach who made a lasting impact in your life. Do you have it? Well, Lou Lahana is one of those teachers for so many students at PS/ MS188, the island school on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where nearly half the students live in temporary housing.
Lahana encourages the students to use art, music, poetry, film and technology to express their thoughts and to use their struggles to make them stronger.
Lahana won $25,000 as the first recipient of the FLAG Award, which recognizes public school teachers and schools who inspire learning through their creativity and passion.
PS 188 is getting $95,000 to help him develop art and creative programs.
“My students have a lot going on in their minds, a lot going on outside of school,” said Lahana. “Rather than bury it, they use it as a fuel to create positive messages, to make changes in the world. I don't empower them, I don't really love that word, they already have plenty of power, powerful experiences, powerful insights into those experiences. I just help them to hone their messages and amplify it so a wider audience can see their perspective and be changed by it.”
Lahana has also set up a tech lab for kids to use outside of class. You can see the students' work on his website, techbrarian.com.
Dance teachers at the Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp on East 90th Street in Manhattan choreographed the kids' end of the week showcase, a beloved camp tradition. Because parents and family weren't allowed on campus for the big event, the technology team was able to livestream it for the first time.
One number shown in the video above was done by the Koalas, the rising third graders at the camp.
The camp may continue this live-streamed tradition. Viewers from Brazil, Japan and California were among those who tuned.