Brooklyn Middle School Wins $10 Million To Build Dream High School

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A couple of eighth graders from a Brooklyn charter school just won their future high school millions of dollars with their creativity and forward thinking.

Now, they get to turn their dreams into reality.

“We won $10 million. I was like, ‘Oh my God’ and I freaked out,” 13-year-old Suzuki Allen told CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock.

“I had no words, I was speechless,” 13-year-old Adajenae Cox said.

The two eighth graders couldn’t believe their middle school, Brooklyn Lab, beat out more than 700 others from across the country to win $10 million. They competed in XQ: The Superschool Challenge.

The task is to rethink high school.

“It’s about imagining the possibilities of what could have and imagining that future,” Brooklyn Lab Middle School Director Jonathan McIntosh said.

He says plans for their super school of the 21st century started with these questions:

“What does the community need? What is the community voice? What are the kids really wanting in their high school experience?” he said.

That’s right — the community, teachers and young scholars chipped in their ideas.

“Of course they’re middle school kids so they range from hover boards across the hallway and strange elevator systems,” he said.

McIntosh said their final vision sticks with Brooklyn Lab’s model: a mixture of digital literacy and personalized learning. In high school, students will participate in internships with happening companies in the neighborhood in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle near the foot of Manhattan bridge.

“We wanted to make sure our kids are part of that economy– active innovators in that economy,” McIntosh said.

“I’ve always wanted to be a video game designer, but have never understood– how do they make these video games?” Allen said.

“Creating your own high school, like what you want, is pretty cool,” Cox said.

Now there’s money to build it. Brooklyn Lab Charter High School is slated to open next fall. The eighth graders will be part of the inaugural class, among the first to graduate from the high school they helped dream up.

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