Brookwood School junior Anna Vick is passionate about photography, crafting, and helping others. She’s found a
way to combine all three in her “20% Project” for Brookwood’s Foundations of Innovation (FOI) class.
Students in the FOI class use design methodologies and work practices to solve real-world problems, from
designing and testing fishing lures to engineering safer dugouts for baseball and softball fields.
“Students are working collaboratively, conducting interviews, researching materials and design examples, and using
power tools daily,” says Josh Hanke, who co-teaches the FOI class with Brookwood’s Director of Facilities Rob
Clendenin. “We also usually have the music cranked up pretty good.”
In addition to working together on projects throughout the year, each FOI student must also complete an
independent project of his or her own design. These independent projects are called “20% Projects,” because they
account for 20% of the student’s grade in the class.
“The overall goal of [the FOI] class is to teach the kids how to solve problems creatively through design,”
Clendenin says. “We teach the students the steps to creative problem solving, then we give them projects or
problems that they have to create a design in order to accomplish.”
For her project, Vick designs and manufactures custom keychains, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Vick will use
the proceeds to fund a trip to Australia to study photography with National Geographic experts, and has decided to
take her project a step further by also donating 20% of her earnings to Missions of Hope Haiti, a charity that
provides educational and nutritional services for Haitians in need.
Vick loves travel and photography, and also wants to create a positive impact on the world. This project allows her
to do both.
“I went [to Haiti] over spring break last year, and wanted to do something for the people I met there,” Vick says.
“The idea came to me in study hall: I can make small things that people will be willing to buy to raise money for a
trip that is my dream and I can give 20% of what I make to Haiti to feed the people I met last year.”
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For Vick, it’s important that this project incorporates multiple areas she’s interested in: “When I do a project I like
to be all in, ready to spend hours pouring hard work into something that will be rewarding.”
When asked about what makes Vick’s project special, Hanke identifies the fact that it creates value for so many
different groups of people.
“Over the four years of this class, there have been only a few who think about the community and attempt to
incorporate a solution that meets their needs,” Hanke says. “The great thing about this project is that Anna has
found something that helps everyone. She also goes above and beyond with the little details for each customer,
including hand lettered envelopes.”
In addition to the feeling of fulfillment she gets from helping families in Haiti, Vick finds satisfaction in creating
things that people here in Thomasville can enjoy.
“The most rewarding part of this project is seeing that people are interested in what I am making,” Vick says. “It is
easy for me to dream up projects and things to build, but to see that people are liking my designs and the things I
am making is truly rewarding.”
“Anna’s project shows what selflessness can achieve,” Clendenin says. “It also shows others how they can become an
entrepreneur at a young age, simply with a good design.”
Vick strives to convey the meaning and fulfillment that she gets from this project in the designs of the pieces that
she produces. One design that is particularly meaningful for her is called “No Rain, No Flowers.”
“It portrays how life can be. It's the storms, and the rain that allows us to grow into who we are,” Vick says.
Other designs include a world map, reflective of Vick’s love of travel, a camera, showing her passion for
photography, and one entitled “Walk by Faith, Not by Sight,” which reflects her Christian faith.
Vick is excited to see how her project can improve the lives of others, and to get to pursue her dream of traveling to
Australia to study photography with National Geographic.
“I am just overwhelmingly grateful to be in a school that will allow me and any student to use the resources we have
in order to reach our dreams.”