Friday, February 2, 2007
Shorts from Regional School Committee, January 23
• Trip to London and Scotland. At the Regional School Committee meeting on January 23, drama teacher George Kendall asked for permission to plan a trip to London and Scotland in August 2008 to be a part of the American High School Theater Festival. Roughly 30 to 40 students would perform a play four times to an international audience. The trip would last for two weeks and would include seeing a show in London. The estimated all-inclusive cost for each student is $4,750. Kendall said there would be auditions. "I want to make it as open as we can."
RSC member Michael Fitzgerald told Kendall to control the cost. "You need to make it affordable." Kendall agreed to work on this. The committee approved the planning of the trip.
• Pathways student invited to speak at conference. James Brendan Finnerty, known as "JB," has just been invited to speak at the Northern Arizona Autism Society of America Conference to be held at Northern Arizona University. The society will pay the student's expenses for the trip. This student has a disability on the autism spectrum and is presently in the Pathways Program which caters to students who are developmentally delayed and may have severe learning disabilities or severe physical disabilities. In November, he and a few teachers from the program were on a panel at a national conference in Baltimore and JB gave a presentation.
JB has modeled himself after Steven Shore, an adult with Asperger's Syndrome who has written a book called Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Shore came to CCHS to give a talk about understanding your disabilities and knowing your abilities. He motivates his listeners to use their abilities to be successful. JB hopes to do the same. Shore is a national figure who has overcome his disability and has been interviewed on NPR and other programs about his success.
• Senior projects. Teacher Emeritus Mark Angney runs the Senior Projects Program which allows students to design their own projects. Students have chosen all kinds of projects: some intellectual; some musical, such as composing a trio for trumpet; some physical, such as building a boat. Angney showed an eight-minute video done by Ben Brewer '06 which included interviews with last year's seniors as they were working, as well as some of the projects, such as a large trebuchet (a medieval engine for hurling stones).
Angney said that everyone involved with the program has found it to be a wonderful, growing experience. Although he was the first to run such a program in Massachusetts, there are now 14 such programs across the state. He has recruited 16 mentors for the CCHS program and has 40 applicants with a waiting list of 15. Last year, 31 students participated. RSC member Betsy Bilodeau commented, "Seniors are looking for something different by the second half of senior year."
© 2007 The