The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 22, 2009


CCHS seniors share fruits of independent learning

On May 12, the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) Library and Cafeteria were buzzing with activity. Roughly 35 seniors were presenting their work at the Senior Project Fair. Teacher Emeritus Mark Angney runs the Senior Projects Program which allows students to design their own independent study on all kinds of topics, some intellectual, some musical, some artistic, many culinary. In the descriptions below, Carlisle students are listed in bold:

Lucas Abend and Sam Carlson-Teasdale stood before two large, 8-foot x 4-foot murals they had painted. The young men said they were part of five equally sized murals that fit together for an 8-foot by 20-foot picture which ties the Earth, child soldiers of Africa and young gang members of American cities together in similar patterns of violence. Both Abend and Carlson-Teasdale will continue to pursue their interest in art at college.

Sam (Samantha) Hankey designed and built a chicken “spa,” a large chicken coop where her chickens would have some room to roam. Hopefully the environment would increase egg

Samantha Hankey holds one of the birds who will inhabit the chicken “spa” she built for her senior project. (Photo by Ginny Lamere)

production. She brought a number of her chickens to show off. One was a Silkie Bantam, a fluffy white chicken that was soft to the touch and easy to hold.

Ben Young set out to learn how to cook ten meals on his own. He started with French cooking and said, “It was really difficult.” He switched to English and Chinese dishes. “I had fun doing it.” He served one of his favorite dishes to the crowd.

Caroline Petersen tried something new by working as a volunteer/trainee at the Lowell Humane Society. She learned about the problems pet owners and pet shelters face. She said that in a bad economy, some people abandon their pets. They may have to move out of pet-friendly places into apartments that do not allow pets. She said, “Some cats come in as pairs.” Previous owners might request that cats that have always been together be adopted together in a new home. Petersen walked dogs, helped to socialize cats and cleaned cages.

Sarah Ganek studied her Russian and Polish heritage. She too, worked on culinary inspirations. Using her grandmother’s hand-written recipes, she worked to get the right consistency. She served pineapple kugel at the Senior Project Fair.

Harry Greene researched the history and culture of Iran and has been teaching himself Farsi, the Iranian language. He said he spends an hour a day learning the language. He expects to take Arabic in college.

Caroline Peterson described what she learned from her senior project work as a volunteer at the Lowell Humane Society. (Photo by Ginny Lamere)

An incredibly delicious project was undertaken by Lexi Doolittle. She became an expert on the history and culture of chocolate. She treated browsers to very rich, delectable, chocolate treats to show off her new-found knowledge.

Tom Wiklund designed and painted a large mural on the wall in the cafeteria. A video of the time lapse of the creation of the mural can be seen by going to the CCHS website concordcarlisle.netand clicking on “CCHS Mural Project.” His art has a persona. Wiklund is part of a new club at CCHS called the Urban Art Club and he taught others his “urban art” skills. Sophomore David Yanofsky and others helped fill in small portions of the mural under Wiklund’s direction. Yanofsky is now president of the new club and said, “There’s a lot of excitement and active members.” He added that one or two mural projects are planned. Art teacher Brian Mahony is the faculty advisor for the Urban Art Club.

Jay Stephens performed his own composition on his guitar. Two of his friends accompanied him on their drums and vocally. Lauren Kinsman studied and learned hip-hop dancing and demonstrated her new skills, with strobe lights, in the cafeteria.

Marisa Welsh studied the growing problem of pet abandonment and explored human solutions. She handed out a list of needed supplies by the MSPCA Shelter in Methuen where she had volunteered.

Caleb Brewer, who led a group of volunteers from CCHS in New Orleans over February break, wrote a handbook on how to organize such a trip. The document included how to get the trip approved by the high school and tips on leading a successful trip.

Chiuba Obele spoke about City Year, a program that brings people of many backgrounds together for service to the community. Chiuba was a part of one of its youth leadership programs, City Heroes, which focuses on awareness and understanding of social issues. The program includes leadership development activities designed to teach students how to make a difference in their communities. Chiuba spent several weekends a month cleaning up homeless shelters, working at soup kitchens and tutoring kids. He said, “City Heroes is an inspiration.”

Angela Schmidt-Chang studied many aspects of Thailand, including the cultural “do’s and don’ts” for her senior project. She will be traveling around Thailand for 10 months as part of a Rotary exchange program. She is quite thrilled to be going and said, “There’s so much to learn!”

CCHS Principal Peter Badalament later observed, “Senior Project provided our students with unique opportunities to pursue subjects they are truly interested in. What amazes me, beyond the amount of work they put into the projects, is how diverse their interests are and the fascinating work they produce.” ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito