LINCOLN, Neb. —
Almost ten years ago when The Bay was opened by Chase County High School graduates Mike Smith and Andrew Norman they had a mission of building a space for young people who feel like they dont fit in with the regular crowd.
"We affectionately refer to ourselves and our kids as misfits. Whether they look differently or sound differently we love the misfits and that's what the bay is all about," said Smith.
Over the years The Bay has expanded beyond an indoor skate-park to a community of artists, instructors and students learning about industries and skills not often found in a school setting but Norman and Smith want to see that change.
"Its the same with music, the same with fashion its not about being a famous musician or skateboarder or fashionista. Its about the skills those industries have and learning those skills along the way," said co-founder Andrew Norman.
The Bay will be joining Lincoln Public Schools in a new partnership to add The Bay's creative knowledge into a new focused education curriculum that would be offered to LPS students, taking place at The Bay known as Bay High.
The program promises an opportunity for students to focus on their creative outlets while still being kept to the same standards as their peers outside the program.
"Some might look at this and say this looks like a whole bunch of fun for kids and it will be, but that is just the connector. Because the standards still exists for an LPS diploma," said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel.
For LPS its a chance to provide a focused education for students looking to pursue their dreams in creative fields and for Norman and Smith its chance to give their misfits lifelong skills and a high school experience they can be proud of.
"You know our kids are special, talented and incredible. Where you graduate from high school, some of us love telling people but some of us hate that. So where you graduate it means something. Our school its important and to these kids to say this was a forever impact and a place they can point back to. That's why we do it, we are here to make a lasting difference," said Norman.
The program at The bay not starting to for a little while with students being able to register in 2022 so they can get a head start on their creative focused education.