On 12 December, staffulty and students gathered in the auditorium as DSC 2017 took shape. DSC or Do Something Cool, is a special tradition that has been a part of the African Leadership Academy since its inception in 2014. The mission is to have the entire ALA community engage in deliberate practice and create something cool. The goal is to demonstrate the capacity for self-directed learning and creation.
Our CEO and Founder Chris Bradford had this to say about #DSC in a book written by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith, “Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era”:
“One of ALA’s distinctive initiatives is DSC, which stands for “Do Something Cool.” During DSC, all other activities at school come to a halt, and students are given forty-eight hours to invent and begin implementing something they’re excited about that they feel will make their world better. ALA students go into overdrive with creativity and passion, fueled by the self-directed nature of the activity—and all ALA staff members stop their work to run with their own DSC project. DSC creates a true community of learners and innovators, and is perhaps the most vibrant and exciting time on our campus. When you give students a chance to create something big and audacious, they rise to the occasion. Kids are savvy enough to know how to access what they need to learn to pull off amazing things, and nothing builds their confidence like an authentic accomplishment. At ALA we seek to empower our students with the capacity to learn how to learn throughout their lives, and to realize their capabilities to fulfill a meaningful purpose in life.”
DSC is a great opportunity for everyone in the community to celebrate the end of the first term of the academic year. It’s a chance for the community to come together to do something creative, challenging and collaborative. Previous DSC projects include an evaporative cooling charcoal refrigerator built by a student; another student wrote a novella, called Tamu’s Purpose, which was later published. This year, ALAians used this time to work on a range of projects, which include: learning how to play the guitar, using a collaborative art space to create artwork that told various stories, some staff members collated recipes from the community for a compilation of the first ever ALA Cookbook; others worked on scripting and writing music for the ALA Musical and so much more.
The rules are simple:
Do Something Cool!
- Explore: to develop curiosity by exploring new things, broadening interests, and finding inspiration
- Create: to create something tangible, inspired by explorations
- Connect: to collaborate through shared passions across the community, and share creations to fuel curiosity