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Students display creativity at Bedford High expo

BEDFORD - Students at Bedford High School showed off the results of their learning at a student expo Thursday, with some special guests - a panel of judges from N.H. Excellence in Education, which will present the "ED"die Awards in June.

According to Peter Gagnon, director of the International Baccalaureate program at Bedford High School, BHS is in the final round for consideration as a Secondary School of Excellence for 2013.

Students participating in the expo gave an overview of some of the projects they've done this school year, selected for presentation by their teachers.

From chemistry to Latin, Mandarin to algebra, students presented projects in an array of subject areas, Gagnon said, including projects from its International Baccalaureate and Life Skills programs.

The International Baccalaureate program is an honors program organized by an educational foundation headquartered in Switzerland.

"I think they take a lot of pride in it," Gagnon said, referring to those nominated to make presentations.

Students presented several projects providing unique challenges to their creativity, including a children's book on the ideas of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and adapting graphing techniques to create cartoons.

Michael Soucy, a freshman, designed a house and labeled everything in it in Mandarin Chinese. "It was a lot of work," he said, "but it was fun to create my own house."

Valerie Boles, Sumana Shashidhar and Madison Earnshaw presented the Five Pillars of Islam as part of their World Religions class, which included the study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam.

As part of the class, the students did a workshop with students at Peter Woodbury Elementary School.

"We talked with them about basic lessons, like peace," Shashidhar said.

"This is absolutely my favorite class," Boles said. "I really, really enjoyed studying the five pillars."

Earnshaw said what struck her is how much the different religions have in common.

Gagnon said he is continually impressed with the level of student work, and while there have been ups and downs since the IB program first opened, he is proud of its progress.

"I'm fortunate to work with an all-star team of educators," Gagnon said. "We do great things, but like any high school, we have legitimate challenges."

Gagnon said the final round of judging is just one part of a thorough application process.

"We're certainly hoping to be recognized," he said. "It's always good to be recognized when you're doing something right."


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