One of my favorite experiences as a child in elementary school was being a part of the Gifted and Talented program that my district offered. It’s disappointing to think that these programs are now rolled up into advanced placement and college-prep programs in New York state and throughout the world. This program taught creativity in some of the arts and sciences, but mostly it just taught students how to think outside the box – something seriously lacking in the world as programs and careers now limit their participants.
Most of my post titles are pretty self-explanatory. This one, probably not. The G/T program’s branding displayed prominently the famous black and white piece by Pablo Picasso featuring Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, preparing to take on the army of windmills. (Note: part of the Dutch revolt of the Spanish conquests took place between 1548-1668, with Cervantes writing Don Quixote in the early 1600s)
I remember, in Kindergarten, reading One Was Johnny, by Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are). Then, we were to, without using text on the page, draw and color the book as if we were starting from scratch. I never did learn to draw well. By the way, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that, at this point, we were limited to 2 or so hours a week of scheduled time (and additional if we got our classwork done with our assigned teachers). Our G/T instructor was incredibly accommodating to our interests and needs as well.
A few years later, we were given a few appliance boxes. I’m not talking about toasters and blenders. I’m talking about washing machine and refrigerator boxes. I don’t remember doing anything in particular with them, not being an apt artist, but I remember putting one of our classmates in it while it was tipped over – and then letting her out, of course. 🙂
Still a few more years later, VHS was coming into popularity. We had some connections, through the program, in the A/V club at the connected Jr. High school. So, for a week or so, we learned to use the VCR and the video camera attached to it. Let’s back up a bit.
So, by this time (4th grade, I think), there were 7 of us in the group for our grade level. We were learning about corporate logos. You know, the swoosh from Nike, the Apple with the bite out of it (for Apple, though not common at the time), the C= that represented Commodore Business Machines. We studied why certain logos were chosen (like the bite out of the apple keeps it from looking like a cherry – did you know that?).
We were challenged to create our own logo. It ended up being a cute insect of sorts, and we named our shoe company (#becauseNike) “Tirmmad”, with a pair being called “Tirmmads”. The reason? Tirmmad included the initials of the seven of us in the group. (Tom, Ian, Rob, Mike, Mindy, Allison, and Derek) From there, we were to take our logo (now a part of corporate branding) and create a 30 second spot (that’s a commercial) around what consumers of our product could expect. Nothing as flashy as the modern ads today, but the learning experience is one I’ll always remember – and I bet several of my classmates from 1982 would recall it as well.
Some of these classmates are friends of mine within the realms of social media while some “offline” as well. Either way, my observation is that they are continuing to pursue awesomeness, like Quixote, and romancing life.