SALISBURY HIGH SCHOOL COLUMN
On Nov. 12, juniors and seniors took a field trip to Muhlenberg College to hear Holocaust survivors tell their stories. The day began with a few keynote speakers and a one-act play dealing with the lives of teenagers as their world changed around them when Hitler took over in the months leading up to the Holocaust. Students later dispersed into smaller groups to hear the testimonies of the survivors.
Students got a good chance to assess the effects of prejudice and hatred, and learn how one dictating voice can lead to the genocide of many groups of people.
On Nov. 17, Salisbury High School held its first ever TEDx event, centered on sustaining innovation. Sarah Kim, Thomas Walters, Makenna Lenover, Sinjon Bartel, Gabrielle Maramag, Alan Mendez, Casey Creveling and Alyssa Sipos presented their ideas on how to sustain innovation in every day life. Some made reference to notable books such as J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, or to movies such as "A Bug's Life." Others analyzed concepts such as student performance in school, or gave new approaches to the idea of failure. Junior Gabrielle Maramag gave a TED talk about loss aversion.
"I feel like anyone can relate to what I said because it's about being human. Regardless of age, everyone is afraid to take risks and losing something," Maramag said.
The process of getting the TED talks together was a production in itself. Coordinators Kelly Wetherhold and Jennifer Brinson applied for a license to run the show at SHS, and from there, research of ideas was conducted for students to give innovative talks. Many hours were spent ironing out tech issues and organizing other basic elements.
"I think if one challenges the ideas, takes them in, questions, empat-hizes ... then an innovation can emerge," Wetherhold said.
On Dec. 4, 5 and 6, juniors and seniors presented their graduation projects to their assigned advisors. Students chose between three pathways to center their project; the creative pathway, the volunteer pathway and the career research pathway. All students ranging from ninth to 12th grades worked on their graduation projects in a specialized period occurring every Day 1 in the six-day cycle, known as advisory, and on their own time.
Given the surplus of students in 11th and 12th grades, scoring panels were reduced from three teachers to two. This is a temporary adjustment as the switch has been made for students to present in their junior year, rather than their senior; more judges were necessary given the amount of students presenting.
Juniors were thrown for a loop their sophomore year when they found they'd have less time to complete the graduation project.
The graduation project presentations was orientational for some teachers who hadn't judged prior to this year.
"I enjoyed it. I liked seeing students talk about something they are interested in ... you can see the motivation and excitement in the kids," Social Studies teacher Barry Frick said.
"At first, I didn't know what to expect, but I'm really enjoying listening to the presentations," Science teacher Susan Wilson said.
Given the advantage of advancement and technology, presenters could credit use of an array of applications for their visuals in their presentations ranging from Keynote to Google Docs. This, however, was only a miniscular aspect to the process, overall. A great deal of planning was necessary on the student's behalf. Once students warmed up to the presentation, it became less stressful.
"When I first started, it was like I was having a conversation with the teachers," senior Julisa Trinidad said.
Congratulations to all for such a well display of hard work. A reminder to all juniors; there is a class advisory meeting Dec. 14. To all sophomores; your class meeting will be postponed until a later date.
In addition, there will be an early dismissal for the break Dec. 21; the times for such are listed in the superintendent's letter which was issued online, via Sapphire Community Portal.