Snapshot Profile: Mrs. Shaban
by Leah Tan
In our new series “Snapshot Profiles” we hope to capture a small glimpse into the lives of the people who help make BHS so special. This is the first of what we hope will be a long series of those glimpses.
Where can you find a homemade card for a fraction of the price? Braintree High’s Project Prove Program has a card making business that provides cards made by students in the program at an advantageous price. I captured a snippet of Project Prove’s own mini-corporation which operates daily from Room 238 during its free block after lunch. Since its launch in September 2013, the cards have become immensely popular amongst BHS staff. However, this incredulous success would not have been possible if not for the creative and talent mastermind behind the scene: Project Prove’s very own Mrs. Nicki Shaban.
Since joining Project Prove this past September, Mrs. Shaban has become an integral and crucial part of the program. Within moments of watching Mrs.Shaban at her work with the students, it became clear to me her passion and true enjoyment for what she does. While various students occupied themselves with activities such as checkers, Legos, coloring, and card games, Mrs.Shaban and one of the dedicated students of Project Prove quietly retreated to the back of the room; they proceeded to open an inconspicuous cabinet and brought forth a vivid array of colored scrapbook paper, stamps, envelops, and cardstock. Within a few seconds, Mrs.Shaban unfolded a miniature card factory and began assembling the elegant creations that would be sold to teachers the very next day.
The cards come in a variety of themes, from Christmas cards to Mother’s Day cards to Thank You cards and are sold to teachers in the teacher’s lounge on the second floor. Each card comes with its own envelope and has a simple, but elegant design on the front and the stamp of approval by the students of Project Prove on the back; at a glance, any of Mrs. Shaban’s homemade cards would have passed for store-brand material.
Ms. Shaban’s brilliant entrepreneurial idea has its roots in her past; having working as a creative manager at Michael’s Craft Store for many years as well as having her crafts published in a book. Mrs. Shaban arrived at BHS in 2008 to work in the School to Work Program. There she resourcefully invented a bracelet/necklace business to help money for her students to go to a trip at Canobie Lake Park. The immense success of her first project inspired her to try her hand at a new trade when she joined Project Prove this past September – the card-making business. Thus Project Prove’s mini-Hallmark was born and has since been developing steadily with the artistic guidance of Ms. Shaban. All the Project Prove staff have been extremely supportive, and several of the students have become talented ‘card-makers’ themselves.
The secret to the success of the business, Mrs. Shaban reveals, lies in finding each student’s strength and working around these assets, whether it be cutting the cardstock, stamping the cards, or assembling it all together. Above all else, Mrs. Shaban puts the students first, always motivating interested students to contribute to the card-making process in any way they prefer. While she guided the assembly process, Mrs. Shaban engaged the students in friendly conversation and asked about their day. When other students came up to Ms. Shaban to show her a project they had done, Mrs. Shaban would stop what she was doing to admire their work. For the students of Project Prove, Mrs. Shaban was more than a teacher; she was also a mentor and a friend.
“My favorite part about being part of Project Prove is the kids,” said Mrs. Shaban, “they genuinely care about how you are feeling.” Ms. Shaban’s care and dedication to her students is an inspiration to those around her; all the students and staff at Project Prove appreciates her presence as a teacher and leader. Project Prove’s business continues on today; outside the classroom, Ms. Shaban can be found playing with her dog Rougie, making crafts, and exploring her next new hobby: weaving!
Leah Tan is a BHS New contributor
Do you have an idea for a Snapshot Profile – someone who works behind the scenes to make BHS great? Either leave your suggestion in the comment section below, or go ahead and write the snapshot for submission. Any articles should be submitted to Mr. Dahlbeck at firstname.lastname@example.org