In our Social Entrepreneurial program, students develop their own group or independent projects to pursue. They have to match those projects to one of our five learning goals, but outside of that requirement, they’re pretty much able to do whatever interests them.
It’s been a while since we gave everyone an update on what projects our students are doing, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to highlight them.
- T & M Chocolate: Thano & Max are not only developing a professional business plan for their brand-new chocolate making business, but they’re also already making and selling their 100% organic chocolates at the Rutland Farmer’s Market. Working with a mentor from the Poultney Small Business Center, as well as a mentor from the Small Business Development Council in Rutland, Thano & Max are well on their way to becoming the next Milton Hershey. You can follow their exploits on their company’s Facebook page.
- Brain Evolution: Ariella is near to completing an independent project on the evolution of the human brain, specifically looking into the effects of climate change on the development of the brain. She’s reading the book, A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution & Abrupt Climate Change, and talking with Dr. Julia Poulio, who will soon be presenting a talk at our local Science Pub about “Your Brain At Work.”
- Tile & Mosaics: Ariella, Hannah, & Lizzy, working with their mentor, Daniela Rosenthal, are learning the art of tiling and mosaics, firing the tiles from scratch and designing, painting, and constructing a mosaic to be placed in the entryway of our new building.
- The Strategies & Tactics of Football: Thano & Max are also working together as they learn the strategies and tactics of football. For this project, they’re using a video game to study each position’s role during a given play. They’re also watching live games on the weekend and writing analyses of the most important plays of each game.
- Ballet: Colleen is taking private ballet lessons and is learning how to dance en pointe. Because LiHigh School does not separate the learning that happens in school from out of school, we consider Colleen’s ballet lessons to be just as integral to her learning plan as her math and history.
- Secret Project: With health and exercise falling under our learning goal of Personal Qualities, Lizzy, Cassidy, & Ariella have created a “secret” project where they exercise and track their food intake, all with the goal of…well, I can’t tell you, because it’s a secret.
- P90X: Thano & Max are working together on a third project as well, following the P90X workout regimen, which consists of weight-training, martial arts, yoga, and calisthenics. It’s an extreme workout (hence the “X” in the name), but it pays off.
- Osteology: Tooti is working on an independent project where she memorizes all the bones in the human body. Tooti is interested in being a surgeon when she’s older, and memorizing the bones is a good first step towards that goal.
- Documentary Making: Cassidy, Colleen, Lizzy, and Tooti are working with their mentor, Ina Smith, a former editor and producer for NBC, on a documentary about the lives of the women of Poultney, both historically and today. So far, they’ve just been getting familiar with the equipment, but the interviewing process should start soon. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with the progress and plan a big event for when the movie is ready to premiere.
- Running: Mentored by one of our staff members who is a dedicated jogger, Ariella, Colleen, & Lizzy are working on a group running project with the goal of being able to run a half-marathon by the end of the year.
- Operating a Small Farm: Eaden is working closely with a staff member to develop a business plan that will help him grow his small dairy farm into a successful beef farm. He’s visited farms to talk to the experts, watched videos, and had discussions with RAFFL, the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link. His plan is a long-term one, and so he is developing estimates on how and when to grow.
- World Geography: Hannah has set herself the goal of learning the locations of all the countries of the world, so she’s been sitting down with maps, globes, and atlases, trying to memorize what and where everyplace is.
- Crafting from the Earth: Colleen & Hannah are just starting a pottery project, where they hope to learn the basics of pottery and develop the skill to use a pottery wheel. They’re still searching for a mentor for this project, so if you know anyone, please let me know in the comments!
- Fashion, Hair, & Makeup: Tooti & Cassidy recently started a project focusing on fashion, hair, and makeup. The goal is to study the history of style and successfully apply their new knowledge to the creation of a new outfit and head shots that highlight hair and makeup.
- Hamster Training: Lizzy is nearing the end of her project on hamster training. Guided by her mentor, Maureen (a parent of one of our other students), Lizzy is learning the basic of click-training and applying them to her pet hamster, trying to teach it to move through a maze.
Of course, those are just the small group and independent projects the kids are doing. Along with those, we are in the middle of an academic seminar about the causes of the American Revolution, reading Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, taking nature walks to study the local habitat (led by their mentor, Jim, a parent to one of last year’s graduates), and developing entrepreneurial skills through the launching of a new restaurant here in Poultney (you can imagine how big an undertaking that must be).
If you can be of help on any of the projects above, whether that means sending over some readings for the students or actually coming into the school and working with them directly, we’d be overjoyed to have the assistance.