Harvard School District 50 debuts INCubatoredu classroom

$90K renovation at high school creates modern workspace

What once was a computer lab now is a modern collaborative workspace thanks to a $90,000 classroom renovation at Harvard High School.

A glass conference room, smart board, work tables, liquid-crystal display screens and modular furniture have replaced traditional desks in Harvard’s new INCubatoredu space.

“Students enter the room and leave their backpacks in cubbies at the door; the space provides a professional learning and working environment for the 21st century,” District 50 Superintendent Corey Tafoya said.

On Sept. 27, Harvard High School held an open house welcoming students, their families and community members to the new room. The funding for the classroom was secured entirely through private donors.

The Coleman Foundation, Domek Foundation, Foglia Family Foundation, Harvard State Bank, Harvard Community Education Fund and McHenry County Economic Development Foundation all provided significant resources for the project.

The Domek Foundation’s Mike Domek, a major supporter of INCubatoredu programs throughout the county, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

INCubatoredu programs offer students an entrepreneurship experience and empower them to develop business plans under the guidance of business leaders.

“The students really enjoyed working with our first coach, Mr. Tom Dougherty. He brought his life and business experience into the classroom and made himself available to the students in a way they have not had access to a business professional before,” instructor Erin Harris said.

Dougherty, owner of Studio 2015 Jewelry in Woodstock, emphasized to students the importance of failure as they develop their ideas.

“​In class, we learned that failure is OK with that knowledge we know that failure is not the end of the world,” senior Andrew Cooke said.

Students develop their business plans throughout the year, with opportunities to pitch and refine their concepts in the winter before making a formal presentation in the spring.

“The incubator is an excellent opportunity for us to interact with community members and work outside of our comfort zone,” senior Dawson Miller said. “The course requires us to come up with ideas we normally would not. It’s a different way of thinking.”

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