by Natasha von Kaenel
Gabrael grew up down the street, and found out about The Crucible watching his brother, Robert Collins, take class after class. Robert was the first Youth Programs student to become a lead instructor, and Gabrael says, “No matter how annoying Robert gets, I can’t live without him because he’s still the one who helped me through The Crucible.”
With 15 Crucible classes under his belt, Gabrael can proudly claim that, at age 12, he has already taken more classes than the majority of Crucible students. He only had a few moments to chat before he rushed off to make a presentation about a website he is coding. Here are some excerpts:
Wait, so where are you headed?
I’m going to a presentation to try to get this website I’m making funded for 500 dollars. It’s called ‘Woke,’ and it’s supposed to tell you where the nearest protests are, how to get involved, how to start your own protest, and how to make art about these protests.
What’s been your favorite class that you’ve taken so far?
My favorite class that I’ve taken so far has to be arc welding. It’s the easiest, for me personally, and I think you can make the coolest projects in it. I made a Dugtrio, the Pokémon. It’s in my front yard now.
What’s your dream project?
A drone. I want to fly it around and have fun.
What’s something you saw happen at The Crucible that you will never forget?
We were playing basketball outside and one of the teachers bet us 10 dollars that we couldn’t make a shot from very far away. Then, on the first try, each of us hit it, so he had to give us 30 dollars. That was probably the craziest thing.
What impact have you seen The Crucible have on the local community?
Just the other day, I saw a man pull up asking for help with his daughter’s bike and The Crucible let him in and let him fix his bike, free of charge. He walked in, got the tire, walked out. It was perfectly okay. The Crucible is a place where you can ask for help and they will actually help you. Like, they won’t say, ‘We need fifty dollars for this one tire.’ No, they will just help you.
How do you feel like The Crucible has impacted your life?
It has impacted my life phenomenally. It’s been a big influence on my personality and my artistry, and I’ve become more creative since coming here. It’s helped me think about things differently, like not just thinking about making a cat or a dog, but thinking about making an inferno or a gear out of metal that actually moves. Not being simple. Thinking outside of the box.
Has that creative side impacted you in at school as well?
Yeah, it’s easier to get A’s. It makes school a lot easier and fun.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
How to learn and get to know people. Coming here, I was really shy and nervous to get to know people. But people here don’t care if you’re a nerd or weird, because they are probably just as weird. So you’ll fit in perfectly – no matter how you feel about yourself or others.
What advice do you have for other youth who have just started taking classes at The Crucible?
You’ve got to keep on exploring, keep taking different classes. There’s so much inside of this small area, you can make literally anything. It’s a great experience, it’s fun, and it’s perfect to keep your summer or winter activities upbeat and happy.
What’s one word you would use to describe The Crucible?