Friday, May 25, 2007
CCHS seniors share their creativity at Projects Fair
There are few assignments a journalist could cover that would be as engaging as the presentations at the Concord-Carlisle High School Senior Projects Fair on Wednesday, May 16. The 30-some projects covered a wide range of topics including genealogy, hypnosis, nutrition, music, drama, solar energy, rocketry, photography, meditation and more. Seniors showed off their knowledge and abilities, offering food they had prepared, performing as actors and musicians, running slide shows on their laptops and showing off their needlework.
The audience long applauded the impressive performance by Alexander "Zander" Pease of Carlisle. He began by mentioning his research into the neurological conditions of three composers, one of whom was Franz Liszt. Then he sat down at a piano in the middle of the hallway outside the auditorium and played Liszt's Etude of Transcendental Execution #10 in F Minor. This is a long, intricate piece and Pease entranced his listeners with his flying fingers and thoughtful execution.
Christine "Cricky" Cicchetti of Concord has written a novel. She and Carlisleans Eric Stengrevics and junior Lisa Yanofsky acted out the first scene in the book, which was quite intense. Cicchetti learned about the publishing world for her Senior Project. She hopes to get her novel published in the coming months.
Deirdre "Didi" Offenheiser of Carlisle studied her family genealogy through oral histories, family artifacts and narrative writing. She had a couple of hats on display, one from her great aunt who owned a hat shop in Providence, Rhode Island, and another from her great-great-great-grandmother. Didi used a variety of sources to find information on her family, including the Internet.
METCO student offers field trip for teachers
Taylor West, a METCO student, had a unique project. She designed a bus trip and tour of Mattapan and Hyde Park for teachers so they would have a better understanding of where she came from. Several other METCO students met the bus and were tour guides for the teachers.
Participants included seven faculty members from the math, science, English and foreign language departments, as well as Taylor's middle school guidance counselor from Concord's Sanborn School. English teacher Ingrid Sutter wrote of the experience, "The trip gave me a more nuanced understanding of the world our METCO students come from, how diverse the neighborhoods are from which they come, how far apart they often live from each other in Boston. It also gave me a very small taste of what their experience is like commuting to Concord. We took the bus the METCO students take every day and had the chance to be newcomers in their world. Taylor was a great guide; she shared with us those places that have been landmarks in her growing up in Boston — Ron's Bowling Alley, the Hyde Park Municipal Center, Simco's Take-Out Stand, the Mildred Avenue Community Center — and gave me reference points that I could use in talking with some of my other METCO students about their lives in Boston."
Doug Wieand of Concord researched video games from both the perspective of youthful users and the producers. "Kids under the age of 12 are the most impressionable," he said. He added there was a correlation between aggressive and misbehaving youth and youth that play violent games. He pointed out there could be many reasons besides playing violent games that make kids aggressive. He recommended that parents play video games with their kids so they know what their child is experiencing. Also, he recommended the new fully interactive games like Nintendo's Wii system, which allows kids to simulate playing games like tennis rather than "shoot em up" games.
Jason Drinkwater of Carlisle explored Italian cooking. Concord students Russell Peck and Rebecca Patterson performed part of a one-act play that Peck also produced and directed. Concord students Chris Lorch, Matt Cronin and Doug Wieand performed a Radio Head song on their electronic instruments. Taniya Delva of Roxbury learned cyanotype, a photographic technique which uses sunlight to print pictures on fabric. She created a unique quilt with people's faces on the fabric.
Other seniors' projects included: cooking nutritiously, learning how to be an EMT, interning as a middle school guidance counselor, studying applications of solar energy, running a Tae Kwon Do tournament locally for young participants, and researching leadership styles.
The Senior Projects Program has been offered at CCHS for the past dozen years to allow students to explore, examine, research and create in areas of their own interests. There are no entrance requirements and projects can range from academic, career exploration, to community service, art, or practical skills. English teacher emeritus Mark Angney directs the program, which counts as a regular semester course. Participating students normally meet weekly through the spring semester with a faculty advisor who guides their topic selection and work.The program can accommodate up to 40 students a year, and Angney said more than 30 have signed up to participate next year. Besides the Senior Projects Fair, students also present their project for evaluation by a panel of faculty members, community members and students.
According to Angney, the idea for this type of independent senior project originated about two decades ago in Connecticut and New York. CCHS was the first high school in Massachusetts to offer the program. He said teachers from about 70 schools across the country now pool information and experiences on mentoring senior projects.
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