The belly of the BEAST

Friday, October 18, 2013

BERRYVILLE -- On Tuesday night, the BEAST Lab building became a hub of activity for students, parents and community members to see what the students have been working on over the last year.

Photos by David Bell / Carroll County News

Tommy Tyler, at left, is on the National EAST Board and visited with Berryville EAST Lab senior Jordan Parker at the open house.

"Due to lousy weather, we were forced to cram everything in our little building, but we had a fun time," EAST Facilitator Kirk Ashworth said.

EAST, short for environmental and spatial technology -- or BEAST, as it's called in Berryville -- is a program that focuses on student-driven service projects through the use of the latest technology.

"The classroom teacher is called a facilitator and is supposed to get out of the way so that students direct the work themselves with support, guiding, advising, questioning from the facilitator," Ashworth said.

EAST Lab student Joanna Santisteban, a senior, stands in front of the display she made for the open house.

As part of the initiative, students seek out, plan and complete projects that benefit themselves, other students, their schools and their communities. The students brainstorm together and pick projects that interest them.

Projects the BEAST students have worked on over the last few years include a community garden, podcasting and the Special Olympics. The Berryville EAST program is in its fourth year.

In addition to displays of the work they've done, several of the EAST students provided a smorgasbord of food for guests to dig into while browsing the projects.

The BEAST Lab also accepted a check from the Berryville Alumni Association -- represented by Sonny Cain -- for $1,400 for an alumni project they worked on last year.

In addition to the locals, the event drew a few outsiders to see what the BEAST program has been doing. Tommy Tyler, a member of the EAST Board of Directors, came all the way from Yellville for EAST Night Out.

Closer to home, Green Forest EAST Facilitator Sarah Taylor and a couple of her students came to see what their neighbors are working on as part of the EAST initiative.

For more information on EAST, visit

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