National Catholic Educational Association’s annual convention was held at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center for the first time in April. More than 6,000 attendees, the majority being teachers at Catholic elementary schools from around the country, experienced a variety of new elements from NCEA Director of Events Amy Durkin, CEM, at this year’s three-day conference. Take a look:
Seeing the Light
Since the event fell close to Easter this year, Durkin wanted to use something other than basic black draping around the general session stage (above). Her audiovisual team, BAV, used a special film to project pastel colors onto white draping to create the stained glass effect. The artwork on the screen, which changed from session to session, was put together by BAV and included images from churches in Orlando. Christian/gospel artist ValLimar Jansen (shown) sang for 10 minutes before each liturgy and prayer service as people filed into the room.
But First, Let Me Take a Selfie
Who doesn’t want their very own pope pic? This piece of art was created by a student as part of a project sponsored by the Diocese of Orlando to decorate the convention halls with original student artwork. Durkin says when she saw this piece she knew it could work as a selfie booth, so it was placed in the lower level of the convention center next to registration. The playful addition proved especially popular among attendees.
In the Node
In partnership with the Archdiocese of Miami, NCEA brought in Node school chairs manufactured by Steelcase. “The chairs were part of a new way of thinking,” says Durkin. “Instead of having kids in a traditional chair and desk with a teacher at the front of the classroom, Node chairs are more mobile, allowing kids to scoot around and go into groups. Overall, it creates a more engaging environment.” This concept did double-duty as a learning opportunity for attendees and a new format for the convention’s education sessions.
Photo credit: NCEA