Projects – an Open Door…

I love projects.  They help keep me focused on what is possible, what is not created yet, and what could be created with our own ingenuity and energy – all there for the taking, all we have to do is reach in, grab what we like, and make it what we can with our talents – and turn out an amazing project.  So it goes, dreamers are born, and the ability to dream, has been the one element that has drawn me to the field of education.  Being restricted and not being able to use the skills of creativity, research, organization, references, and choice makes me feel like being in the most restrictive strait jacket.  However, students all along the way have taught me, “My dreams do not have to be like that, we want to do what school requires of us but in our own translation!”  I so agree.  So here is a collection of some of my best and most favorite projects.

My friend Osseily Hanna had worked so long and hard on a dream of his, involving a book and a film, that takes music and brings to home to being personal.  He recently has directed us towards a SoundCloud of an artist that parallels his coverage of this idea of living alongside each other, amid conflicts, and using music as the connecting piece. David Broza is one of many artists polled, jumping on with Steve Earle, sharing this initiative to tear down walls of separation at this link.  Stay tuned to Osseily as there will be many more peeks into what he has to offer in the future.  Osseily’s energy shows that a will to change the world doesn’t stop within four walls.

I look back and am amazed at the energy that had been out in by the organization created with the idea of changing the community.  Creating a group called PAVE  (yet before that, what had it been called Christina?!) – Christina Stevenson named the group the second year PAVE (Peers Actively Volunteering and Educating), changed the way people looked at Project Based Education.  We created gardens in the Soroptomist Park with exchange students, we helped 5k’s, combining to cause change at Chapel Branch (see below!):

Students at Delaware New Tech Academy tackle Chapel Branch Nature Area

The students in the Environmental Science Class and Rotary Interact Club at Seaford High School have chosen the Chapel Branch Nature Center for their class project. This will be the first project that the students newly formed Interact Club will conduct by assisting the Environmental Class.
They selected Chapel Branch after hearing from two speakers that have been very involved in protecting the natural resources that are available to all of us living in Delaware. Jason Beale, Manager of the Abbotts Mills Nature Center addressed the students and talked about the plants and animals that make Chapel Branch such a valuable site. The next speaker was Marlene Mervine, President of the Nanticoke Watershed Conservancy whose agency established a conservation easement in 1998 to forever preserve Chapel Branch for the community. Mrs. Mervine talked about the lack of money available to the Conservancy and the need to upgrade many items that in the past have made the Chapel Branch Nature Area a very valuable piece of property for the enjoyment of the community.
The Chapel Branch site was purchased by DuPont in 1938. Previously, the land had been timbered and farmed and included a fruit orchard. The natural forest has gradually reclaimed the land and the Chapel Branch which flows to the Nanticoke River. The Chapel Branch Nature Center is located next to the Golf Course off of Woodland Avenue in Seaford. The site has two trails one known as a short trail of 1.25 miles and the long trail of 2.1 miles. There is a parking lot off of Woodland Road. A map was drawn in 1992 by B. C. Johnson and R.J. Keene. One of the projects the students will work on is an up-to-date map. 
The students have made a list of items that need to be fixed or updated and in teams of four they have chosen the item their team will work on. One of the most important areas will be fundraising and the students contacted Applebee’s, on Route 13 North, Seaford where on January 12, 2014 they will run a Flapjack Fundraiser where they hope to have great community support and raise funds to support their fellow students various undertakings.
“Without the funds we will not be able to accomplish all of the projects my fellow students at Delaware New Tech Academy want to do at Chapel Branch, “ said Drunna Hopkins in charge of fundraising along with Jalone Nichols abd Stefannie Ulysse. “We need the communities support by joining us on January 12th at Applebee’s,” she added.
Some of the projects the student groups are working on are as follows: make a flyer for Chapel Branch, building duck boxes, building a bridge, clearing trails, updating a trail map, writing childrens books, analyze and catalog plants, animals, birds and insects that frequent the area, developing a canoe and kayak map and finally rework the web site. To accomplish these projects the students need to raise money and that is why they are having the Flapjack Fundraiser.
Applebee’s only provides a lunch and dinner menu seven days per week. However, to assist local organizations they open their doors on Saturday and Sunday mornings for Flapjack Fundraisers. The Environmental Science Class of Delaware New Tech Academy chose Sunday January 12, 2014 to hold their fundraiser. Applebee’s provides a sample ticket and poster which the students can copy and the students have to supply all of the help the day of the event with the exception of a cook and manager. Students work as greeters, seaters, waiters, busboys, coffee and juice servers and most important sell tickets. Tickets will be available at the door or by calling John Reichenberg, Environmental Science Teacher at Seaford High at 302-629-4587 X2225. Doors will open at 8AM and close at 10AM.

Let’s make this a very big success and support the students on the 12th of January.

PAVE created support lines for Relay for Life, obtained grants for creating educational units on the Holocaust, and so much more.  All this with just the interest of DOING something different that funneled the talents of students, into high gear with the act of changing things for the better. The last President of PAVE was Tammy Pham and wow, she took on a lot by herself but nonetheless, oversaw projects tat many could have, but did not partake in and she was the last to initiate so many changes.  Winning four Governor’s Awards in 5 years was amazing.  Well, no, not really if you think about Kate Batz, Christina Stevenson, Melinda Duryea, Alison Schwinn, Monserret Celayos, Katie McMullen, Tuyet Nguyen, Tammy Pham, Katie, Alyssa Casey, Priyanka Patel, Vika from Russia, Firdavsi from Tajikista, and the amazing girls from Japan, Italy and MORE, many many more, that made this an amazing venture, it is easy to realize this would be a success to begin with.  I love the fact that the projects they did were done from the heart, done well, and recognized on the highest level at the time from the Governors of Delaware, multiple times.  This shows their commitment to changing the world around them.

I enjoy the fact that time is now allowing me to go back and obtain the pieces of a project started right here in Mexico City, that of the 911 Project. A group of students came together with the idea that we could take the event and involve individuals around the world in presenting something new with the event of 911 at the center.  We did in fact start a project, met with individuals, and eve n met with the Technology Department where we retained, and still have, amazing tools at our disposal to turn this project into a possibility that will amaze people when they see where we take this.  Do not give up on us yet, we have inly let the ideas simmer before be bring them out!

One of my proudest projects has been the one literary magazine, Reflections from ASF and now Repentino., started with the spark of an idea from ASF’s own Camila, passed now on to Alia and Clau.  Camila will soon do great things as her family does, Camila already has, and their spirit of giving knows no bounds as each consecutive ASF staff member has that potential ad I have no doubt, will go on to do great things. Deciding to want to invigorate the idea that a literary magazine can become a living, breathing entity, and being intelligent enough to not want to bury the past alumni’s efforts in Reflections, but to breathe new life into their groundwork, Repentino. was born.  (Yes with a period at the end).  This journey started with 6 people then 12 then jumped to 56, and the new realizations set in.  Wow, we can become a revamped, color literary magazine, then, wait, we can incorporate contributions from ALL OVER THE WORLD, then wait, we can incorporate art, writing, sculpture, alot! into this issue, and then….new chapters keep revealing themselves and we are able to show that borders have no bounds when it comes to exploring how we communicate in a variety of mediums, AND, how we can support each other’s efforts thanks to these mediums.  I cannot say enough about how research, initiative, creativity, strategizing, marketing, and so many more marketable skills have culminated into Repentino. as a magazine, creating Open Mic Nights, creating small pockets of fun here and there to advertise Repentino. and just traveling to CSPA’s Conference each year to develop and integrate further the ideas, methods, and strategies to turn a publication into something amazing.  That is what happens when a collection of diverse talented students put their minds to something, can carry it out.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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