Meaningful education is one of the ultimate keys to a society’s future. The US educational system is outdated and broken. The current system was designed in the late 19th century to produce workers for the Industrial Revolution as our country was transforming from a predominately agrarian culture to one of mass production and industrialization. Public education reflected this and one of the main goals was behavior modification. It worked tremendously well for what it was designed to do for many years. We no longer live in this world but our educational system by and large, is still set up this way with little to no regard for the end customer – the students. Today’s students are disengaged and uninspired. We seek to engage, inspire, and empower our youth to make a difference.
My project, Gone Boarding, is a cutting edge program/high school curriculum centered around action sports (specifically board sports). What started 5 years ago as a class combining Physical Education and Industrial Arts in one high school has grown into a comprehensive curriculum involving not only PE and Industrial Arts, but also math, science, business, marketing, communications, and entrepreneurship. The motto of the class is “Dream it…Build it…Shred it!” The students learn how to design, build, and ride skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, wakeboards, and stand up paddleboards. There is also a service learning aspect to the program in which the students mentor younger kids through action sports. Over the past 2 years the Gone Boarding students have impacted over 5,000 K-2nd grade students using snowboarding. The Gone Boarding program started with 20 kids in one school. This year there were 100 kids in 3 schools. I have stepped out of the teaching role to spread the program to more schools. As of today, we have 6 more schools signed on for next fall. We have also established great relationships with some great brands in the action sports industry to help provide meaningful extension opportunities for the students. Previously unengaged students are now excited not only to come to school, but to pursue opportunities beyond high school (college or career readiness). To date, 220 students have competed Gone Boarding.
I want to spread this program everywhere so schools can better engage our future difference-makers!
Matt Mills, Gone Boarding alum and current student at Stanford University studying product design.
“I learned more about math and science in Gone Boarding than any upper level math or science class I took in high school.”