Students in this semester’s Junior/Senior Project course at Newtown High School rehearsed their presentations on Monday, May 20.
Project are to be officially presented before a volunteer panel of judges over a course of three evenings, May 28, May 30, and June 3.
Each semester the high school offers students the opportunity to undertake a self-directed project of their choosing, which concludes with the presentation before the judges. Overseen by Peg Ragaini, Angela Pennucci, and Kristen Hardy, each student works with a mentor to investigate his or her project.
This semester, 13 students have undertaken a range of projects during the course.
Jillian Lyon promoted self-injury awareness for health classes, Sam Svensson worked on writing a first book of a planned series, Colleen Hart wrote a paper on the cycle of thought and how emotions transform actions into thoughts, Aspen Krausher developed a website that lists Fairfield County pet businesses, Lee Cummings created a fundraising campaign for the nonprofit organization Room to Read, Kenna Bassett trained her puppy to be a therapy dog.
Charlotte Gray spread awareness about disabilities, Amy Anyoha worked on a project called “Dream Your Change,” Carly Sullivan promoted skin cancer awareness, Rachel Cole wrote and illustrated a children’s book explaining the effect of litter on marine environments, Eric Song created a historical account of the Newtown International Center for Education (NICE), Paige Fedorcheck investigated the concept of body image and created a unit for high school guidance courses, and Connor Anderson looked into how comfort dogs soothe and console.
“I love animals, and it is sometimes hard to find things,” said Aspen, about why she wanted to create a website that lists Fairfield County pet businesses. “I figured this would help people.
Charlotte has been working throughout the semester to spread awareness about different disabilities. In April Charlotte asked students and community members to help “Light It Up Blue,” as part of the Autism Speaks movement to raise awareness about autism. The movement asked people to light blue lights at their home on April 2.
Charlotte said she feels she has been successful in spreading disability awareness through the range of things she has brought to NHS this semester. One upcoming event, a visit by the Connecticut Spokebenders, a wheelchair basketball team that is part of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, is set for May 31 at 7 pm at NHS and will be open to the public with a $5 suggested donation at the door.
Last year in the Junior/Senior Project course, Eric designed a philosophy course curriculum, and this year her mapped a timeline of the NICE program’s inception and growth since it began in 2008.
Connor said he studied the psychological effects dogs have on people, specifically comfort dogs.
“I did this because after the tragedy that happened in Newtown they really made a large effect on me,” Connor said, “and I wanted to know as much as I could about them.”
As a model, Paige said she has become passionate about the concept of body image over the years.
“You really need to be aware of it,” said Paige.