“Partnership is the plus in this project,”says Future Akins-Tillett, School of Art alumna, and Assistant Professor of Visual Studies, “and the changes that happen to those kids because of it.” Ms Future Akins-Tillett explains about the award-winning Lowrider Dream Bike project now in its fifth year. It employs the lowrider bicycle culture as a means to teach students while they make their own bikes and learn math, science, and design in addition. In the way of partners, Mrs Akin explained that many SoA students including Kyle McQuilkin (doctoral student in the FADP-Art program) inspired the program and was a tireless worker; Freddy Cortez, (Lubbock High 2007), David Wragg (BFA 2008, Visual Studies), Arthur Polendo, Michael Synatzske, and Daniel Rodriquez (BFA 2008, Visual Studies), other community workers Sam Tillett and several retired LPD officers were among the most dependable and hard-working volunteers
This project, a collaborative effort of Atkins Middle School, the School of Art, and T-STEM Center, has been awarded the Crystal Award 2009 by TAPE (Texas Association of Partners in Education). The group was recognized January 27th, in Austin at a banquet showcasing the exemplary partnerships statewide. This community award recognizes partnership with “a school that has demonstrated positive impact on student development in science, engineering, technology or math,” according to TAPE.
“As a direct result of this program, participating students have raised their math TAKS scores, while another became vice president of the student body, and another was selected Lubbock AJ Teen of the month for Atkins.” explains Principal Chris Huber. “One student said because of this project, she will go to college!” More on Lowriders here.