Boys Using Innovation to Learn and Design

Building on 100 years as a leader in educating boys, St. Christopher's School has introduced an innovative and interdisciplinary framework for tapping into the very essence of boys' curiosity and sense of wonder to help them learn best. BUILD takes the best of STEM/STEAM approaches and combines them with a broad, skills-based, project-centered focus.

BUILD (Boys Using Innovation to Learn and Design) is the pedagogical intersection of best practices for boys (project-based learning, technology-infused applications, competition, hands-on experiences) and several Essential Qualities for Leadership:

  • Creative thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration
  • Intellectual risk-taking
  • Adaptability
  • Technological savvy
St. Christopher's School is uniquely positioned to develop this dynamic approach for boys JK-12. From our kindergarten boys who design and build castles, middle schoolers who use simulations to conceptualize and construct bridges, to our upper school boys who create prototypes of their ideas using high-tech tools such as 3D printers and Arduinos (microcontrollers), BUILD provides the framework for our boys to tinker, play, investigate, collaborate, and create innovative solutions to real-world problems.


Students learn as they design— and redesign—their projects in an environment that fosters a desire to constantly refine and improve their ideas.

Located in Luck Leadership Center, the school’s BUILD Lab brings students together to create using high tech tools such as a 3D printer or simple materials such as cardboard. Students are tasked with activities involving specific problems that allow them to solve in their own ways. They design and create machines, art projects, or devices in ways that focus on process, not product.

The Upper School curriculum includes a BUILD primer class for every 9th grade boy. In addition, students can take an 8th Grade BUILD elective and an Upper School “Make” elective course that utilizes the space. The BUILD Lab is open to boys during free periods and lunch to have time to tinker on projects of interest.

The Build Lab welcomes teachers and classes from across campus to partner with the BUILD faculty to create meaningful hands-on projects to support the classroom curriculum.

BUILD Faculty

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Catherine Pohanka

    Catherine "Carey" Pohanka 

    JK-12 BUILD Coordinator, JK-12 Global Coordinator, & Robert Haskins, Jr. '35 Mastership of Technology
    (804) 282-3185 x4208
    University of Mary Washington - BA
    University of Florida - MEd
  • Photo of James Jump

    James "J. D." Jump 05

    Multimedia & Technology Specialist and Assistant Technical Director of Ampersand Theater Program
    (804) 282-3185 x4232
    Randolph Macon College - BA
    Duke University - MDiv