Building Bright Futures

J. Henry Higgins Middle School

  • Unlock students’ full potential in a digital learning environment
  • Build bright futures through 21st century learning
  • Prepare students for high school, college and career with a student-based enterprise

When Higgins Middle school first opened their doors last year to the students of Peabody, MA., they made accessible a print shop fully equipped with VariQuest® Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools. Part of the new school construction project included purchasing the VariQuest Perfecta® 2400 Poster Design SystemTrifecta™ 800 3D PrinterCutout Maker 1800Awards MakerDesign Center and Cold Laminator 2510. Jared Haas, Director of Teaching, Learning and Instructional Technology, saw the VariQuest tools at a learning conference, and had a vision to incorporate this easy-to-use technology in what they’re now calling their Digital Learning Center. Using new construction funds to acquire the tools, 7th and 8th grade students are now leading the program, while teachers, parents and community members alike are reaping the benefits from this thoughtful investment.

Kindness Counts Poster

Students at Higgins use the VariQuest Cutout Maker 1800 to cut shapes for fundraising, vinyl letters for signage and more!

Meet Emily Moore, a former history teacher, now Digital Learning Coach, overseeing Higgins’ IT department, and a program called START (Student Technology Assistance Resource Center), where a selected cast of 20 students have the opportunity to interact with all elements of running a print shop. “Students gain valuable project management experience from working with the print shop tools,” says Emily. “7th & 8th graders run the show, use the [VariQuest] equipment and train me!”

21st Century Skills

Through START, participating students are given the opportunity to operate a student-based enterprise before they even enter high school, giving them a leg up on college and career readiness, and at the heart of their business are the VariQuest tools used to create-

  • Classroom posters
  • Cutout letters for vocabulary and school signage
  • Cutout shapes for fundraising
  • Laminated flashcards
  • Award stickers for classroom competitions
  • Award plaques for upcoming end-of-year ceremonies
  • Certificates for mid-year faculty retirements
  • Posters for community events
  • 3D prints
  • And so much more!

“The 21st century skills they learn are invaluable lessons that will prepare them for high school, college and a career,” Emily states. “They take responsibility for monitoring incoming jobs, communicating with the teachers and staff regarding questions and progress, and finalizing completion and delivery of the job.”

Students use an ordering system modeled after Staples, where teachers submit an online form to enlist their services.

Students Get Creative with VariQuest

Using the VariQuest tools on a weekly basis, young entrepreneurs at Higgins Middle School produce clever creations with ease. 

Invaluable Opportunities at Higgins

To qualify for START, and be a part of this serviceable opportunity, incoming 8th grade students must-

  • Be able to handle their day-to-day workload
  • Complete an application
  • Seek a teacher recommendation
  • Interview
  • Participate in a critical thinking and collaborative exercise to see how well they problem solve and complete various tasks

Outgoing students enhance their career development skills further as they observe the applying students completing their tasks, then weigh-in on the selection process.

Contract for Success

Once students are accepted into the program they show their level of commitment by signing a poster-sized contract printed from the VariQuest Perfecta® 2400.


As for the students, they love doing what they do, and how the VariQuest® Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Tools are helping to prepare them for high school, college, career and beyond!

  • “I enjoy helping teachers. They are always so happy when we deliver their jobs.”
  • “Sometimes it can be challenging because teachers will send images that are really low resolution or the wrong size. We have to find other solutions to turn their image into a large classroom-sized poster.”

For more information on how the VariQuest Tools can benefit your CTE programs, request a personalized meeting with one of our expert Education Consultants today! Consultants today!