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‘Amazing’ Columbiana students working on downtown project

Columbiana High students are turning this alley into the Columbiana Corridor. (Salem News photo by Danielle Garner)

COLUMBIANA — Students in the young entrepreneurship class at Columbiana High School have been working on giving the alleyway beside Columbiana Nutrition a makeover.

Students started working on the project as part of a class project in September. Instructor Tricia Missos said she believes the growth and development her students have achieved is “amazing.”

Students Ava Bryant, 16, and Zhenya Motry, 19, both enjoyed the involvement with the community. Motry said that he was able to work with business owners who may be able to offer him opportunities after he graduates.

Bryant and Motry mentioned that calling businesses and doing research has given them newfound confidence and public speaking skills. Missos also noticed the difference in her students.

“Even making phone calls, they really come out of their shell … just little things like that, it’s been amazing to watch,” Missos said.

Students are not the only ones learning new skills. Missos explained that while sometimes she has to bite her tongue, her students always impress her with their ability to problem solve and improve.

” Sometimes we just want to put the ideas in their heads but if we give them the opportunity they really will shine,” Missos said.

The working with the city was an alternative due to the pandemic, however, Missos said she would love to work with the city on other projects. Missos’ students agree.

” I love it because the city reached out to younger people, not just deciding what they wanted to do. They asked younger people what they wanted because they are going to be essentially using it,” Motry said when referring to the city.

Bryant said she had been considering a major in business for a while the project helped her clarify the skills she will need and helped give her direction.

“It’s definitely given me a different outlook and a different perspective on what I want to do in my future,” said Bryant.

Missos said Comco and Diamond Steel have offered to help with the sign and Motry hopes than the sign is in progress and ready within the next few weeks.

Motry explained that the entire school got to participate in a poll that chose the name Columbiana Corridor for the alleyway space.

Town and Country also helped create a mock up for students.

Columbiana Nutrition and Urban Elephant helped students develop techniques and ideas.

City Manager, Lance Willard, said the alleyway project was featured in The Business Journal and will have amenities such as a waterfall, bistro lights, outdoor furniture, GFCI outlets and a security camera.

Willard said he was impressed how students researched a product they had found and sought a solution when they found the product could potentially wear out prematurely.

Missos said she believes that sometimes when students are behind the walls of a classroom it’s challenging to gain real life experience and not disconnect from the outside world.

Bryant said its nice to feel like she has been part of something that has attracted so much attention. Bryant said the project has shown her a lot about herself and the way she views challenge.

“Higher expectations for themselves and their peers, it’s kind of how I look at it” said Bryant

Missos hopes the project will be completed by May 13, since most students working on the project were seniors.

Students are looking forward to the long term accomplishments from Columbiana Corridor, especially when it comes to returning and raising their own families in Columbiana.

“Maybe one day we will be able to bring our families to the alleyway it will just be a place in Columbiana for everybody to enjoy,” said Bryant.

Missos said one of the most challenging aspects for students is learning critical thought skills. Missos explained that when student approach her with statements like “I think …” she redirects their thought process by asking “Why.”

“I think a lot of times it’s like bringing their opinion back out of the equation and letting them do the research to figure out what will work and why,” Missos said.

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