Felege Gebru, Class of 2013

Why did you take Design and Visual Communications at Newton North High School?

I remember spending nearly all of Eighth-Grade Night down in the Design room playing around with Photoshop only to be stopped by the fire alarm. I don’t think there was a better sign for me to take the class.

Why did you choose to continue with the Design class?

It was fun! Really that simple. This was something that I would have done in my free time. And of course, Ms. Brooks was–and still is–a consistently amazing mentor in my life. I certainly grew from her guidance every year!

What was your favorite part of the class?

The people! Design becomes a different process when you take out the human factor. The feedback and friendships helped me grow in an enormous way as both a designer and a collaborator. For me, the most exciting and successful projects are forged when I’m collaborating with people I have chemistry with and challenge my ideas. I was blessed to have that in my Design experience.

What is your most memorable experience from the class?

Ms. Brooks always talks about attitude. I love the quote that is framed by her desk:

“…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it…we are in charge of our attitudes.”

This quote manifested itself in the most amazing way while working on our Pedestrian Alert System project. When we got the notification that we were one of the teams chosen to present, Lemelson-MIT mentioned something in the letter that resonates with me till this day. They told us they were having a hard time deciding between us and another team but what got us chosen was our gratitude–especially noting the letters of appreciation we sent. This was just such a clear example of how our attitude towards the project was the x-factor that ultimately took us to the white house.

How has design helped you in the path you are taking right now?

Design is the connecting point between my love for art and computer science. If it wasn’t for design, I don’t think I would have explored forms and techniques in the way I approach my art.

How has design helped you in other aspects of life?

No matter what I am doing, I have an extra edge because of my design skills. Presentation is such an integral part to many project in one form or another and the problem-solving skills I’ve learned are applicable to any discipline. Most importantly, the philosophy that life is a product of our attitude towards circumstances echoes in my every day.

What school did you go to, and what did you major in?

I’m now about to graduate from Brown University with a degree in Visual Arts and Computer Science.

What are you doing now?

Still figuring it all out! Will let you know when I know though 🙂


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