River Hill High School seniors put their careers into portfolios


March 28, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

HOW DO you sum up four years of high school? River Hill High School English teachers have found a way with the Senior Portfolios, which were displayed in an exhibition last week in the school's dining center.

"The senior portfolio is a culmination of four years of high school," said Diane Curry, a River Hill English teacher who helped develop the activity in which students showcase their high school careers visually, in writing and in a speech.

Students receive a packet with guidelines for completing the portfolio. During the semester, they create a display board of artifacts representing their high school experiences with written reflections explaining why they chose the items and what they are meant to communicate about the student's life.

The young people let their personalities and interests shine through on the boards. They give a presentation about their boards during school. Later, River Hill community members judge the boards.

Hockey player Kate Macon of Clarksville surrounded her "Perseverance Equals Success" board with a field hockey goal cage she cut down to fit. Her portfolio highlighted her hockey career, as well as her music awards, math experience and her photography and artwork. She had a compact disc playing the warm-up music used by her hockey team. Kate also decorated the back of the board with a bandana she bought after Sept. 11 that reads, "Let us never forget."

Lisa Williams of Ellicott City came up with another idea. Instead of using the traditional tri-fold board, she glued boxes together and placed mementos inside that she completed at school. "I wanted to actually have the artifacts instead of taking pictures," Lisa said. Inside one box is a pair of sneakers decorated with items from her 16th birthday.

Holly Meachen of Columbia decided on a Trivial Pursuit theme for her board to show the varied aspects of her life. Categories included Science and Nature, History, Arts and Entertainment, People and Places, and Sports and Leisure - as in the board game.

"I definitely have not based all my talents in one area," Holly said. "I decided this was the best way to show the different achievements."

Three grand prize winners were named at the exhibition, and each received a $100 savings bond.

Holly won for her Trivial Pursuit board. Bing Han won for "Enter the Ice," which depicts the outside and inside of a restaurant, as well as the alley behind. Jennifer Kulak's winning board was covered with fabric and trim to resemble a suitcase, and titled "All Packed Up."

"I wrapped the entire board," the Columbia teen said. "I used a lot of staples!"

Jennifer said her board represents her readiness for college in the fall. "This represents that I'm taking all my artifacts from high school with me - everything that I've learned," she said.

John Hartman, Jessie Bowers and Lauren Kountz won awards for Best Theme. Jill Holston, Lisa Williams and Kristina Giovanis won for Most Innovative Use of the Board. The staff also chose four boards that deserved recognition - those made by Kelly Brazinski, Melissa Leonard, Samantha Pick and Heidi Kavanaugh. River Hill Principal Scott Pfeifer awarded his Principal's Choice award to Pooja Desai.

Pfeifer is proud of the innovative program.

"There's probably not another school in the nation that does anything quite like this," he said. "The idea of a portfolio process came from our [technology] magnet program, but it has nothing to do with technology. The goal is to help kids to be self-aware."

Kelly Brazinski of Marriottsville might have achieved that goal. Her project, "Setting Sail," shows the front end of a ship with an accompanying "Captains Log" containing her artifacts.

"I liked doing this project because it has showed me how I've changed from the beginning to the end," Kelly said. "The ship represents leaving something and going to something."

High scorers

The Glenelg High School Symphonic Band reached a milestone March 15, scoring all superior ratings for the 25th year in a row at the District VIII Band Festival.

The band brought the crowd to its feet at Atholton High School as Glenelg broke its state record with straight superior ratings. The audition-only musical ensemble of about 80 students performs at national competitions throughout the year and consistently receives rave reviews. The Glenelg Band has traveled to music festivals as far away as Canada and Florida.

Congratulations to all the band members and band director Barry Enzman for their achievement.

Computer winner

Congratulations also to sixth-grader Steven Brady for the Honorable Mention Award he received in the Maryland Instructional Computers Coordinators Association (MICCA) 2002 Computer Generated Art Contest. Steven created a work of art using the home economics embroidery machine and computer software.

MICCA is an organization for anyone interested in technology and education.

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