It’s early March and, along with crocuses and daffodils poking their heads out of the still somewhat frigid ground, WISE students are perhaps some of the most reliable heralds of the growth and rebirth that we associate with the coming of spring. Project sharing time is indeed the first real signal that WISE, and springtime, is on its way.
At Hunter-Tannersville High School, in New York State’s Catskill Mountains, snow may still be on the ground, but spring, and WISE, are definitely in the air.
Hunter-Tannersville’s WISE class of 2017 met on March 7th to share both their excitement about their projects and the necessity of dealing with the challenges that inevitably arise from them.
The projects are, as always, far-ranging, with education, local government, veterinary medicine, welding and the culinary arts the foci for this year’s group.
Chris, who has been studying the culinary arts through BOCES, was able to hone in on his interests by working as an intern in a local Tannersville restaurant. On the job he has learned many things, from the basic to the much more rarified: when shopping for fish, choosing those with firm, non-cloudy eyes for maximum freshness and taste; the secret of moist, NOT dry chicken whether broiled or fried (poach it first!); the excitement of competing in a culinary skills event (on display, a picture of his corn muffin cake decorated with a strawberry frosting – no, not your usual strawberry flavoured frosting but one made directly from strawberries).
Jordan’s major interest lies in veterinary medicine, and she drives ten miles for an internship at Hensonville Veterinary Medicine. She has had hands-on veterinary experience there, taking the blood pressure of a Rottweiler, taking part in the checkup of a friendly, if very energetic, dog, learning through direct contact how very loving a three legged cat named Mischey is. To get a more complete picture of the veterinary medicine field, she is also going out to interview a number of local veterinarians. All of this has made her very aware of the need to master time management, juggling, as she does, her internship, keeping up in all of her regular classes and participating in team sports to boot. That challenge notwithstanding, her enthusiasm for her project is unabated.
Kateri is looking into education: its impact on students (present and future) and on the world in general and the way it is practiced in its every day setting. She has been shadowing social studies teachers in both junior and senior high schools and seeing for herself not only the difference in learning styles that students display but also the variety of approaches that the instructors must use to reach each and every one of their students. Her awareness of the complexity of the art of teaching through her exposure to the day-to-day work of teachers in the classroom really resonated when she watched a variety of movie and TV award shows and saw how many of the award recipients credited the caring, knowledge and leadership of their public school teachers for their own success.
Iliana’s interests lie with politics and local government, an interest heightened by an unforgettable long-distance Trailways bus ride. On her way to Montclair, NJ, she found herself sitting in front of a couple of very vocal Trump supporters who spent the entire trip ‘broadcasting’ their decided opinions on every possible assortment of current issues. This crystallized her perception of the need for people to find something they can DO about things they care about, instead of just sitting it out on the sidelines. She had already been struggling with the issue of dealing with divergent points of views, thanks to her relationship with a family friend whose political views were often diametrically opposed to hers. She was able to find a local county legislator with views similar to hers and is now interning with that legislator and is looking for ways to resolve the conflicts arising out of our polarized political world.
One other student, Ben, who is doing a project on welding, was not in class that day. He’ll have time to share his project with the others next time!
Besides sharing their projects with each other, the students also sat down to write one more journal entry for the day, this time dealing with both their short term goals (what they were looking for as they complete their project) and their long term goals – where they hope to be five years from now. There is no doubt that these WISE projects will have an impact on where that will be.