The Innovation Lab at Notre Dame Prep in Towson is one high-tech classroom, the brain child of math teacher Mary Agnes Sheridan.
"It really was a vision to give the students a place to do their project-based learning from their classrooms here in the lab," Sheridan said.
In the Innovation Lab, the students' imagination is their limit. They build robots, make music and create things like cookie cutters using a 3D printer.
"When they have something they can hold, that they've made, there is a pride in that and there's an incentive to do more learning," she said.
Sheridan is also the STEAM coordinator at Notre Dame, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. She says the students learn the tougher subjects like math and science through the engaging activities in the Innovation Lab.
"It gives them a functional space where they can create," she said. "For their future jobs, it's important to think outside the box and this gives them the opportunity to do that."
Recently, Sheridan learned she is one of 42 teachers across the country to receive the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. award, given out by the National Catholic Educational Association. The award honors those teachers who demonstrate strong Catholic educational philosophy as well as exceptional ability, skills, and results.
She was also the only teacher in the Archdiocese of Baltimore to be chosen.
Several teachers, staff and even students wrote nomination letters on behalf of Sheridan. One student, Cate Bowen, says she was more than happy to write a letter for her teacher.
"She's so nice to all her students so I thought it would be a great opportunity for her," said Bowen. "I didn't know there were that many applicants for it so I was so happy that she won. So it was a really cool honor for her."
Sheridan is humbled by the honor but she's not losing focus of what earned her the award in the first place.
"Primarily my job is to educate young women to change the world, that's our mission here at Notre Dame," she said. " I love my students and that's what teaching is about."
Sheridan will be honored with the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. award in St. Louis on April 18.