Eleven Senior Projects awarded Distinguished rating

Eleven Senior Projects awarded Distinguished rating
Posted on 06/02/2017
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By Natalie Brady, Communications Intern

This year, an unbelievable 11 seniors/groups of seniors received Distinguished ratings on their Senior Projects – congratulations to you all! The following is a summary of each of these, based on information provided by the senior/group. They are listed in alphabetic order by the name of the project. Note: if the student(s) did not respond, the name of the project with the student(s) are listed with no project description.

Building a Computer: Jared Burgher, Colin McQuinn, Anthony Sartarelli, Noah Wenker

Building a Kayak: Tarik Whitham

Creating a DJ Table: Calvin O’Brien and Ben Warstler
Calvin and Ben set out to learn about woodworking; they designed and created two separate projects that they worked on together. Ben’s separate project was to create a folding DJ facade, and Calvin’s project was to create a rolling shelf that could easily be disassembled to travel to college. They said, “Our goal was to create usable pieces of furniture that met our design requirements, such as folding to to fit in a car, while being more affordable than commercially available furniture.” 

They described, “In the course of our project we learned a lot about the engineering design process as well as safely operating power tools.”  This included practicing proper safety precautions, “such as always wearing eye protection when working the power tools, and how to use each tool correctly.” They also taught themselves “how to use CAD software to create dimensioned plans” for the designs, “created spreadsheets to calculate the total cost of each project,” and they learned to alter the designs so that they could “easily make them with the tools available.” Calvin and Ben also had to adapt their projects “to overcome human error,” as there were some messy cuts and mistakes made in each project. However, in each final product, you can’t even spot the difference. 

Enigma: A Trailer: Andrew Garcia, Keith Hammond, Devin Heffernan

History of Film: Jack Johnson

Imagine - Sign Language: Elizabeth Bode
Elizabeth chose to focus her project on learning sign language, “in an effort to integrate the able and disabled communities.” She learned the sign language to John Lennon’s song “Imagine,” and then taught others in the community how to sign the song. After teaching a significant number, she recorded a video of them singing the song so she could make a “sign language music video and send it to the St. Rita School for the Deaf.” 

Elizabeth not only learned a lot about sign language and how to sign “Imagine,” but she learned she needed to take different approaches to teaching different people. She said, “Some people took two minutes to learn a phrase [in sign language] and others took twenty minutes, I just needed to figure out different ways to teach each person.” 

She believes it is important to make an effort to cross the language barrier: “Whether you can communicate with [people who are deaf] or not, they just want to be noticed.” Elizabeth believes making the effort to communicate is a worthwhile one. 

Music Videos: Jon Osterhues

One Man Show: Kyle Goold
Kyle’s final project was to create a One Man Show, titled ‘Connection.’ Kyle created the content for the show and also designed the lighting. Kyle explains that he “found music, monologues, and spoken word poems” that he liked, along with some that pieces he had written himself, and then he “strung them all together to feed into [his] overall theme of Human Connection and what that is like in today’s society.” 

Kyle will be going to school for a degree in acting, so he found this project very fitting for his future plans. He described how the project helped him learn about lighting, as he didn’t know anything about it going into the show. This project also helped Kyle learn to trust himself more - he was the only person in his show, and he described how the rehearsal process was difficult because there was no one else to bounce ideas off of. Kyle stated, “Since it was only me, I wanted to scrap almost every idea I had because I thought they weren’t good enough. Eventually, I had to trust myself and my ideas and roll with them.” 

Kyle said, “The biggest thing I took away was how to stand on my own two feet in the artistic world. I found that I was able to create a whole half and hour show, mount the show, and then perform it for friends and family.” 

Psychology of Gender-Based Violence: Haley Ward

Haley chose to focus her project on relationship abuse. The idea from her project stemmed from the entire subject of gender-based violence, which is “essentially violence that affects women disproportionately; sexual assault and relationship abuse are the two most common types,” she explained. She narrowed her project down to focus on relationship abuse so that she could “more extensively research and thoroughly cover the topic.” 

Haley said, “This is something I was extremely passionate about, from the beginning, because I have learned through my own experience, how horrible, intense, and long-lasting the mental effect of an abusive relationship is. The goal of my project and a personal goal of mine was to directly and positively impact the victims of abusive relationships.” Her original idea was to volunteer at an organization that helps women recover from abusive relationships, but she met frustration as she was repeatedly turned down. Eventually, she decided to create a film about “the mental impact of relationship abuse.” 

Haley described the “three most shocking things” she took away from her research in preparation for this project: “The first one is how often relationship abuse actually occurs; on in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. It is truly an epidemic. The second is how subtle some types of violence can be. The Third is the awful way people react when they witness this type of thing. Most of the time, bystanders will not do anything; they simply pretend like the act of cruelty didn’t take place, and to me, this is on of the most disturbing things I learned, and I tried to capture this point in my film.” Here is a link to Haley’s video: https://youtu.be/JPVm5ANrX6Q 

Reforestation of IHHS Campus: Frank Cassidy, Cameron Owen, Hannah Ragnone, Charlie Rhoad

These four students set out to reforest parts of the Indian Hill community with their project. In total, they planted ten trees: “four yellow woods, a tulip poplar, and a honey locust at the high school, a tulip poplar at the primary school, and two tulip poplars and a pin oak at the elementary school,” says Charlie. “We chose these species of trees specifically because they are resistant to the emerald ash borer beetle, which has been causing problems for trees in the community,” he continued. 

The group overcame some struggles with getting the ideal sites cleared and dealing with the clay soil around the community. Their time frame was stalled for two days as OUPS needed the amount of time to inspect the locations they had picked out. Afterward, the group ran into the problems with the soil: due to it being mostly clay soil, they ended up “purchasing nearly 1200 pounds of top soil from Lowe’s in order to compensate” for the trees. Charlie describes, “Most of this top soil was used to fill up the holes dug by the auger after the trees were placed in them, to replace the clay that was there previously.” 

Charlie said, “I personally took away from this project an opportunity of myself to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new. Until the project started, I’ve never been much of an outdoors-y person, and I knew next to nothing about planting trees. However, now I know what kind of soil is optimal for planting trees, what steps to take in order to have the sites cleared by OUPS before you dig, what to look for in a planning site, and the process by which one can rent an auger from the city engineer to greatly expedite the process of digging holes.” 

The hope is that the trees will “grow quickly, live long, and leave a lasting legacy of the senior class of 2017.” 

Theatrical Lighting: Alex Pregel