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School Notes: Mascoma Valley Schools Will Showcase Student Work in May

When schools assemble public displays of student work, they tend to focus on the accomplishments of a select group of young artists, scientists and performers.

The Student Showcase that will be held at Mascoma Valley Regional High School May 8 will provide a broader look at the way students have applied classroom lessons this year. For one, nearly all of the district’s students will have at least one piece of work on display. And the nature of the work is multi-disciplinary. From the pyramids and mummies Donna Hazelton’s sixth-grade students at Indian River School created in a unit on Ancient Egypt, to 3-D models of a cell made by Carol Saulnier’s class, the work will encompass most aspects of the curriculum across Mascoma’s four schools.

“Every kid has their Eureka moment, where they have discovered something through their learning process and they get it,” said Chris Morse, music teacher at Mascoma Valley Regional High School. “We are really trying to celebrate each student’s Eureka moment. … To keep kids engaged and excited, we have to reflect some sense of pride and accomplishment when they have shown some growth.”

This is the ninth year that the Mascoma Student Showcase has been held. What began as a collaboration between the high school’s science and art departments to celebrate Earth Day has evolved into a recognition of academic and artistic achievement across the curriculum.

“You can see the growth from when they start as kindergartners all the way up through 12th grade,” Morse said. “You can watch how students develop skill sets, and they’re excited about what they want to sign up for next year. They’re excited to see the types of projects they’ll be able to do.”

Prior to the May 18 event is Hands On Week, which will welcome several artists and performers for residencies throughout the district. Among those scheduled to take part are singer-songwriter Jared Campbell, who will bring his “Blue Project” show to Mascoma’s middle and high school students. Metal artist Joseph DeRobertis and poet Rodger Martin, both New Hampshire residents, and sculptor Mark Ragonese of Bellows Falls, Vt., will lead in-school residencies with students. Their appearances are funded by Experiencing the Arts, an organization Morse founded to create opportunities for Mascoma students for field trips and visits from guest artists. Over 11 years, Experiencing the Arts has raised nearly $188,000 in grant money from sources such as the Byrne Foundation, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

“What we do for the festival isn’t frivolous extracurricular stuff,” Morse said. “This is where we’re stressing some core curricular content in a performance-based assessment.”

Achievements

Jeanelle Achee of Rochester, Vt., a graduate of The Sharon Academy and a junior at the University of Vermont, is one of 62 recipients in the 2013 Harry S. Truman Scholar program. The prestigious national scholarship provides financial support for graduate study to students who aspire to public service. Achee, who is studying nursing at UVM, was recognized for her work as a counselor to and an advocate for victims of sexual violence. She has also been involved with Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, an organization that works with girls who have imprisoned parents. As a high-schooler, she co-founded the Vermont Student Summit for Building Peace in Iraq.

∎  David Auerbach, an eighth- grade teacher at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, is one of 50 middle and high school teachers in the country to receive a Siemens STEM Institute fellowship. With the other recipients, Auerbach will travel to Washington, D.C., in early August to meet with scientists, innovators and educators, and gather ideas and inspiration for new methods of teaching the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

∎  Roderick Emley, an eighth-grader at Haverhill Cooperative Middle School, won first place in the Junior High School Oratorical Program, sponsored by the American Legion of New Hampshire and held April 6 at St. Anselm College. Emley won a $500 prize for his speech on the Second Amendment. Taking fourth place in the competition was Virginia Drye, a home-schooled student from Plainfield, who won $200 for her speech devoted to the 18th Amendment. Drye also received the Darrell S. Sykes Memorial Award Plaque for winning the New Hampshire Legion’s District 6 Junior High Oratorical Contest.

School Notes appears each Tuesday. Send news and announcements to schoolnotes@vnews.com.