As the weather changes, the agenda for the Keller Center Advanced Learning Skoolie also changes. After school, kids scramble to find rides to KCAL for their workday. They put down their books and binders and put on their working hats and get their heat guns. Students moved on from removing stickers and lights to building wooden walls from scratch and resealing windows on their own. While some saw wood, others record videos for their 2.8 million enthusiastic fans.
“The popularity on Tik Tok has definitely helped as a way to publicize the project and allow people to support us,” Hannah Ongmanchi said. “It’s helped us to recruit people, it’s helped to gather donations. It also works to help motivate us when we know that people are watching, we really do our best to make this a project into something that we can all be really proud of.”
Ongmanchi was an avid Tik Tok fan before becoming more famous than her favorite Tik Tokers. Before school ended, Ongmanchi and a couple of other students had a joined the project when invited by their architecture teacher, Matt Quattlebaum. Her first viral video has 2.8 million views and her most popular video with over 20 million views.
“I get to learn how to use new tools that I’ve never been able to use before or figure out how to use elements in architecture that are super useful,” Ongmanchi said.
Since the first story was released in September, the students have been able to advance their skills on renovations for the bus. They’ve made the entire floor-base, added more insulation within the walls, and started to nail boards on the wall.
While students are the ones working on the bus, they also created the architectural floor-base plan. Sophomore Gabriella Doe and Central High School students made the floor-plan design on their own. This entire project has been student run, with Quattlebaum acting as a supervisor and teacher.
“Being able to work on the bus is hands on and is somewhere I can learn skills through experience,” Ongmanchi said.
Students from pathways like architecture, engineering, construction and design have the opportunity to work on this project. This project gives them an experience that they can’t gain inside the classroom. They use skills they learned in class and apply it to the Skoolie. The KCAL Skoolie team has earned various opportunities as well. Quattlebaum earned a grant for himself as a teacher and the Skoolie, letting them improve their project.
“I’ve definitely been able to make a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have been able to make,” Ongmanchi said. “Otherwise, I’ve been able to meet people from different pathways different grades, different schools, and [make] bonds that I wouldn’t give anything else for. We’re like a family and I love them.”
To help support the project, the Keller ISD CTE Booster Club set up methods for community members to donate funds. The account is available on Venmo @SkoolBucks and on PayPal at SkoolBucks.