Friday, May 11, 2007

Alternative School projects shine

Judges ?wowed? by variety and depth of student endeavors

Express Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Blaine County School District Jesse Gelskey displays the motorcycle he rebuilt and refurbished as a surprise for his father. Gelskey said the look on his dad?s face was ?all I needed to see.?

The graduating class at Silver Creek Alternative School recently presented their senior projects, the culmination of a year's worth of work, to a panel of judges from the Blaine County School District and the community.

Senior projects are a required part of the 12th grade student curriculum throughout the district, said Kate Heinecke, district administrative assistant in charge of school relations, in a written statement.

Students at Silver Creek Alternative School work for an entire year on a project of their choosing. In years past, their focus has varied from career possibilities, to hobbies, to topics of interest. Each student is required to choose a mentor in the community who has expertise on the subject and can guide and educate the student through his educational exploration.

The eleven seniors "wowed the judges with their presentations," Heinecke said. "It was clear to see the amount of time and effort each student put into his or her project. This year's seniors came away from their projects with knowledge, career opportunities, amazing finished products and a deeper understanding of themselves."

The senior projects included:

· Bronco Bravo's investigation into woodworking featured a dresser he made for his nephew. The majority of his project was fashioned from a single old door.

· Raquel Velasco gave a lesson to three English as a Second Language students whom she has been working with throughout her project. She plans to become an ESL teacher.

· Sheldon Hart produced, directed and wrote a silent film that he plans to enter into a silent film festival.

· Rachel Riemann focused on law enforcement. She administered a sobriety test to Blake Walsh, one of the judges, while he wore a pair of "drunk glasses."

· Ruben Wagner enlightened the panel on how to make black powder using only natural materials found in the Wood River Valley.

· Tony Parker was so intrigued by Hailey's organic approach to wastewater management that he spent a year learning the intricacies of the process.

· Doug Bell used the latest software technology in graphic design and displayed to the panel of judges the graphics he designed for his motorcycle.

· Michael Hilton focused on photography and the varying mediums and approaches utilized by profession photographers.

· Jesse Gelskey rebuilt and refurbished a motorcycle as a surprise for his dad. Gelskey said the look on his dad's face "was all I needed to see."

· Kate Nelson customized a guitar by rebuilding and repainting it to better fit her personality.

· Ben Cardozo learned about video-photography by creating a film on kayaking. Cardozo's film has already won an award at the Irish Film Festival.

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