Having pursued an incredible array of independent projects throughout the month of May, Seniors returned to campus to share and exhibit their efforts. Howie Powers, Chair of the History Department, remarked, "This was the best group of senior projects that I have ever seen ... You should be all very proud of yourselves and how much you have accomplished and learned." Here's a closer look at just a small sampling of the fantastic work the Class of 2019 created!
Connor McIntyre spent roughly two months this spring walking around with a camera and recording everything he could at PDS, attending every event and game that he could. "I was able to capture the essence of what PDS means to me. The school has been a home and community to me for the past six years. This community helped me find my feet when I struggled, and always brought the best out of me. Thanks so much for the past few years. This place means the world to me, and I will miss all of you so much next year!"
Giulia Gerschel spent the month working at the Harlingen Veterinary Clinic in Belle Mead, shadowing a technician. She had the opportunity to observe surgical and dental procedures and help throughout the practice, including conducting research and updating bulletin boards to provide information on pet health. Giulia reflects, "After this experience, I realize that I'd prefer to interact with people rather than pursue a career in veterinary medicine." Although Giulia is not usually a fan of cats, this kitten, Blinky (right), changed her mind: "She was rescued from a hoarder house and adopted by one of the vet technicians. She has a strong personality, and changed my perspective on cats!"
Simone DiMatteo and Flynn Gorman created a 9-part podcast on the vegan diet and its more sustainable impact on the environment. Our aim was to educate the PDS community about the nuances of a vegan diet, as well as the lifestyle, health, and environmental benefits of veganism.
David "Diggy" Coit and Wesley Leggett organized a soccer tournament and donation drive to gather lightly used cleats for young athletes in Haiti through the 1K Cleats for Kids program. They collected 77 pairs of soccer cleats and other clothing and athletic gear to be donated.
Lucy Bailey created a large scale pastel and painted mural of her favorite places in California. "These places hold a lot of personal meaning for me," says Lucy. "This is also the largest piece I have ever worked on, and after working all four years of high school with Mr. Hirniak, I really wanted to work with him and challenge myself in terms of the size and medium of this project." Working on this large canvas, Lucy recalls, felt like a fitting capstone to her PDS fine arts experience, and also provided a meditative and peaceful process.
Rebecca Tang, who has photographed others on many occasions but has rarely done self-portraits, turned the camera on herself for a change in order to tell her own story. Her dramatic collection of self-portraits is called SPOTLIGHT.
Léa Namouni and Nashleen Salazar Rodriguez focused on immigration. "We knew how different each immigration story was, and that individual stories would best represent the complexity of this issue. So we created a website that presents information on immigration policy, interviews with a diverse group of immigrants including PDS students, staff and faculty, and various forms of media to inform readers about immigration."
Connor Green produced an album of four songs on his computer using Ableton Live software.
Kaveena Patel and Seshu Bhaskar set out to study traffic flow at PDS, conducting research and feasibility studies with a variety of technologies including infrared and ultrasonic sensors. Ultimately, they used an ultrasonic sensor (left) to count passing cars in three locations at PDS, and created instructional materials for others to perhaps carry on their work in the future. "If we had more time," they report, "we would set up multiple sensors with weatherproof housing, and create a website or app using a PDS server so that parents and visitors can access traffic information."
Zoe Cook got out of her comfort zone as an experienced digital photographer and instead created a portfolio of analog photography, working with Mr. Cook on an accelerated study of this medium. "I got to see photography in a whole different light," she says, reflecting that film photography presents a lot of new and unique challenges. She created 47 prints and narrowed them down to a portfolio of 18, some of which are currently on view in the Anne Reid '72 Art Gallery (including these images of an act called "balancing chairs" from a series of photographs of the Zerbini Family Circus, below).