“This success story couldn’t have been planned by me,” she smiles as she shakes her head. “The universe is so cool!”
How Did This Success Story Happen?
Meg McNamara credits simple serendipity for coming full-circle from once attending Classroom Antics Summer Tech Camps to now teaching a Classroom Antics after-school programs. She also sees her path through Classroom Antics programs as a vital piece of her journey as an artist and teacher.
“It was the best part of my week,” Meg recalls as she describes her experience as a camper at Classroom Antics’ Tech Camps. She attended the first year of summer camps offered by the organization in 2008. At that time she participated in stop-motion animation and video game design camps.
Meg (right) at her first Classroom Antics summer tech camp in 2008.
“Going into camp, I didn’t think I’d be able to do digital design. It was a great learning experience,” Meg states. She remembers camp as a fun experience with her friends. At the time she was not focused on it being a part of her student success story. Today, she recognizes the larger role Classroom Antics tech camp played in her future.
Discovering Her Passion
“Having things like the stop-motion camp in the summer really helped me decide what I was passionate about and what I could see myself doing in the future. As a result, it kept me determined to go to art school despite other voices saying I was not going to make it.”
Meg followed her passions and attended the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she discovered teaching. She never imagined teaching as her career. However, the chance to teach arts as part of her college credit changed her views. That experience showed that teaching is also a passion of hers. Upon graduating in 2018, Meg began looking for opportunities. She noticed a job post for an after-school program instructor from Classroom Antics.
It was an obvious option for Meg to apply to the position. Aside from previously attending Classroom Antics camps, the fact it is a STEAM-based position was ideal for her. “The fusion of science and the arts curriculum done in a hands-on way that definitely appealed to me,” Meg says.
A class of Engineering Club students taught by Meg.
Creating the Next Generation of Student Success Stories
In the Engineering Club, the organization’s after-school program, kids in grades kindergarten through 5th learn engineering concepts. From craft-based projects that apply to life in themed curriculums covering everything from environmental, structural and electrical engineering to communication, biomedical and meteorological engineering.
Since taking the teaching position almost a year ago, Meg has enjoyed multiple aspects of the role. “I love getting to see the kids’ looks on their faces when they figure out something for themselves… you can almost hear their brains thinking because it’s so quiet. Then 30 seconds later they get really excited,” Meg smiles, “That’s the golden moment.”
Meg helps out a student during class.
Meg recognizes the work she is doing helps lay the foundation for may other future student success stories. When teaching, she often asks students if there are other solutions for the presented challenge. “I think that’s a great way for them to build problem-solving skills and thinking skills,” she says. When asked about her favorite part of teaching for Classroom Antics, Meg doesn’t skip a beat, “When they’re passionate about what they’re doing. That’s my favorite part – getting to be a part of that.”