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Senior projects showcase Londonderry students’ talents

Union Leader Correspondent

June 11. 2013 7:31PM
Londonderry High School senior Tori Durrett sits atop her horse, Scout, during the school’s Senior Project Showcase Monday night. As part of her elective senior project, Durrett designed and completed an officials “Londonderry Lancers” costume for her horse, as well as an official school Coat of Arms. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

LONDONDERRY — For most high school seniors, taking on an additional project — one that takes up countless hours of their final high school year — would be unthinkable.

That’s not the case at Londonderry High School, where 31 of this year’s soon-to-be graduates showed off the fruits of their labor during a public “Senior Showcase” Monday evening.

Attended by several hundred parents, teachers and friends, the event marked the official kickoff of Senior Week. Londonderry High School graduation is Friday at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester.

Principal Jason Parent said he’s been working with assistant principal Paul Dutton over the past five years, and the idea for the senior projects came about when both administrators agreed they felt something was missing.

“Senior Week was missing a core component, and that was academics,” Parent said. “What we began three years ago has become the school’s newest tradition.”

The elective program allows students to pursue a topic or idea of their choice throughout their senior year, under the guidance of a staff mentor. Special talents and skills honed during their years spent at the high school are emphasized, with the end result being an in-depth community service or volunteer experience, a job shadow or internship, a performance or creative project, or a finished product like a rebuilt engine, a completed novel or an art portfolio.

The project has grown in popularity — last year there were 19 students opting to complete a senior project.

The latest crop of projects is as eclectic as the students themselves, ranging from completed children’s books to original video games to ambitious charity fundraising events to lasting impressions on the school landscape.

After hearing many students and parents lament the state of the sports fields’ dilapidated concession stands, Kyle Anderson decided to give them a facelift.

“It was a really, really long year,” Anderson said with a laugh. “But oh, did I learn a lot.”

Stephanie Borjeson and Karisa Magoon teamed up to create what they hope will become an exciting new tradition for the school’s Unified Sports teams, which give athletes with special needs the chance to compete against basketball, track and other sports teams from other schools.

The two girls planned and hosted a sports banquet for the Unified athletes, complete with an awards ceremony and gifts for each athlete in attendance.

“Something was missing for them, and we really wanted them to have the same opportunities that all the other athletes had,” said Magoon.

Budding novelist Myranda Brodsky penned a 200-page murder mystery novel, “Hello — I Love You,” with the help of her advisor, teacher Gerri Swider, while aspiring teacher Katlyn Brutus created an entire year’s worth of lesson plans.

“My aunt owns a daycare center and I’m majoring in Early Childhood Education next year,” Brutus said. “So this was quite an experience.”

Alisha Hill wrote a memoir about her personal struggle coping with Lyme disease.

“My ultimate goal is to get published,” she said.

Erin Twombley and Sabrina Wallace teamed up to create an original mosaic that will continue to grace the front foyer for years to come.

“It’s done in all colors of the rainbow to represent all of the students here,” Wallace said.

High schools Londonderry Photo Feature

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