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This past summer, Pop Culture Classroom was hard at work developing and running pop-culture based workshops for diverse sites and students all throughout Colorado! These workshops are all part of PCC’s educational mission to inspire, engage and ignite students’ love of learning using the tools of pop culture – including comics, board games, cosplay and so much more!

Between June and August of 2017, PCC conducted over 100 hours of programming at 24 different libraries, schools and community centers across the Front Range.

These innovative workshops gave us the chance to work with almost 500 students over the summer. Students ranged from 2nd graders through high school seniors, and represented an incredible array of talents, interests and backgrounds.

Below are some of our favorite highlights from our summer 2017 workshops. A tremendous thank you to the many students, PCC teachers, and sites that made these workshops a success!

Greenwood Village – Art in the Park

Our summer started with lots of comics and clothe! As part of the Greenwood Village Art in the Park summer series, PCC offered two workshops – “Superhero Design” and “Cosplay 101” – for younger students 6-10. These workshops were a great way to give early childhood and elementary learners the chance to engage with pop culture and learn the ins & outs of comics and costume-making!

In the Cosplay 101 workshop, students created outfits for their superhero personas! Here, an Art in the Park volunteer shows off her DIY costume to a younger student.
Students drew and created backstories for a hero and villain in the Superhero Design workshop!
Even our instructors, Terra Necessary and Rebecca Silva, got in on the fun!

African Community Center – Refugee Youth Workshops

One of the most exciting new opportunities this summer was PCC’s involvement with the African Community Center and their efforts to help refugees rebuild safe, sustainable lives in Denver.

This summer, PCC participated as a partner and program provider for ACC’s OnTRAC (Training Refugees Accessing College) youth program, which seeks to support refugees by offering college literacy lessons, while honoring their identities, experiences and strengths. PCC offered 2 summer workshops as part of this innovative program, with the goal of using Storytelling Through Comics, PCC’s comics creation program, as a way to help these refugee students improve their literacy skills and prepare for college applications.

In each workshop, refugee students were tasked with creating a comic or comic strip reflecting a journey or moment of personal growth, helping them visualize and develop compelling stories to serve as the foundations for their future college applications and scholarship essays.

According to ACC’s OnTRAC coordinator Yazan Fattaleh, “Pop Culture Classroom’s comic workshop helped our students understand their own stories, and how they can articulate them in more creative ways to increase their confidence. The PCC team did a great job connecting scholarship essays and comics for our students, most of whom had never seen a comic book before.” 

An OnTRAC student works to finish her final comic. Graphic novels like Persepolis, American Born Chinese and Ms. Marvel served as great models for their own stories of personal growth and transformation.
OnTRAC students work together to complete an in-class drawing activity meant to help them create and layout panels for their comic stories.
An OnTRAC student shows offer early designs of her comic character.
Participants in the OnTRAC workshop pose for a photo with PCC instructors Shawn Bowman and Erik Jacobson. Jacobson said he “loved meeting so many enthusiastic, polite, hardworking young men and women from so many different countries. Everyone had different strengths, yet they all produced something impressive by the end of the workshop.”
A few of the OnTRAC participants show off their final comics with PCC instructor Brack Lee.


To be continued…

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