In early 2018, a longtime Holy Trinity family approached the school seeking a way to give back.
The Cobb/Greene family (no relation to Dr. Katherine Cobb) was looking for a way to honor the memory of Mr. Thomas A. Cobb who passed away in November 2017. As the owner of Makoto’s Japanese Steakhouse in Melbourne, Mr. Cobb built a legacy bottling and distributing Makoto Ginger Dressing nationwide.
It was not long before the Cobb/Greene family and Holy Trinity administration mutually decided that the funding of two new IDEAS Centers would be the perfect way to honor Mr. Cobb’s entrepreneurial spirit and help students foster the same confidence and creativity. Mrs. Beverly Greene, daughter of Mr. Cobb, was involved in the project throughout the process. She and her brother, David, have children at both Holy Trinity campuses, so it was important to them that their family’s gift be enjoyed by students of all ages. “The IDEAS Center is a way to honor my father’s legacy and help pass on the entrepreneurial spirit and passion for education that he worked so hard to instill in both my brother and myself and then to his grandchildren,” said Mrs. Greene.
Mr. Cobb started his first business in 1973 at the age of 26 and owned a wide variety of enterprises over the ensuing years, operating on the philosophy that the business category does not matter, it is the management model that counts – work hard, employ the best people, watch the finances, especially spending, and ALWAYS keep company resources separate from personal spending. He built a multi-million dollar corporation using these tenets. The Cobb/Greene family’s idea of funding a portion of the Holy Trinity IDEAS Center is to pass on his simple but successful philosophy to young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The IDEAS Center represents both an innovative new physical space and a new way of thinking – incorporating Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship and Applied Solutions (IDEAS). “We envisioned a designated space on each campus where we could teach, practice, design and work in teams on inquiry and project- based learning programs,” said Mrs. Alison Bell, Director of College Counseling/Institutional Effectiveness.
The renovation project was headed by Mrs. Bell and Director of Advancement, Mrs. Colleen Middlebrooks. They, along with other members of administration, faculty and students, toured other private schools and colleges, including Florida Institute of Technology, as well as businesses including Harris Corporation, seeking ideas and inspiration for spaces that foster collaboration. Their goal was to rethink the type of classroom that would suit this type of learning – thinking beyond desks in rows with a teacher lecturing at the front of the room, in other words, using the “guide on the side” versus a “sage on the stage” pedagogical approach.
Work on the project began in May 2018 as soon as school ended, and the centers were up and running for the start of the new school year on Aug. 9, but finishing touches are still being completed.
At the Lower School, the IDEAS Center is housed in what was formerly known as the computer lab and the academic coaching classroom. The fresh new space is home to the new Tech Lab class taught by Mr. Meyer, but also will be used by other faculty members across grade levels to integrate technology into their curriculum. Over the summer it was outfitted with more flexible seating options including semi- circle tables, ergonomic balance ball chairs, and laptop computers, as well as desktop computer options. A new large screen TV provides better viewing for students. The green screen, 3-D printer, laser cutter and other Maker Space tools also will be moved into the space. The new color scheme of blue, gray and black lends a more modern feel.
At the Upper School, the new IDEAS Center classroom includes bar- height tables and chairs on wheels to provide flexible seating configurations including “Harkness table curriculum opportunities” – a teaching and learning method in which students are seated in a large oval configuration to encourage an open discussion environment. When fully complete, the center will house both oversized and touch screen TVs, a teleprompter for speeches and presentations, and a 3-D printer. Coated glass walls double as white board space. The classroom is currently used for the new Entrepreneurship class, Math Modeling, AP Capstone Seminar and Research, Robotics, and Speech and Debate. Both IDEAS Centers will continue to evolve as teachers and students provide feedback on the best uses for the space.
“It turned into something so much bigger than I, or any of us, could have imagined and has influenced many other projects and upgrades to both campuses, which I’m so proud to be a part of,” said Mrs. Greene. “Best of all, the IDEAS Center will help accomplish my father’s dream of providing an exceptional education for his own grandchildren who attend both the Upper and Lower Schools, as well as many more students at Holy Trinity.”