Saturday, December 17, 2016

VUHS Garden Has Positive Impact on School Food Program

This past spring and summer a small group of people, lead by parent and community member Michael Johnston, built raised garden beds to grow vegetables for the VUHS food program. It was a small, yet successful, venture. Carrots, tomatoes, and basil were harvested this fall and utilized in the VUHS cafeteria for various dishes, salads, and pesto. The last of the carrots were recently used for a local foods feast on Friday December 2nd. Thanks to Michael, students who helped plant (see previous post), Lynne Rapoport, Joallen Vincent, and the local businesses (Aubuchon's, Greenhaven Gardens  & Nursery, Gardener's Supply) who all helped make this possible. We look forward to more gardening success in the coming season.

Friday, December 16, 2016

VUHS CAD Class Takes "Quick" Activity to the Next Level

In an effort to break the monotony of CAD work, I decided to have the students do a quick (or what I thought would be quick) "settle-in" hands-on activity. It took on a life of its own. 

I told the students that each of them could have two sheets of paper, one paper clip, six toothpicks, and four inches of tape. The goal was to build some type of structure that would hold as many textbooks as possible, at least two inches off the table.  Some students immediately blew it off as "silly", and others took it to heart.  A few managed to hold a couple books, some five, and others ten. Then things got interesting. 

The photos below show Gabe Quinto's completed design. His structure held an enormous stack of books, magazines, and a ream of paper. After stacking the first ten or fifteen books, others started to notice and gather around. Then the questions started. "How did you do that!?" "How is that possible?" Next thing I knew we were into a discussion about structural failure modes of compression, tension, overturning, twisting, and shear. The students were debating how the structure would ultimately fail. We discussed center of gravity, torque, inertia and momentum. Gabe's simple yet sophisticated design was impressive.

Carl K. Crawford, P.E.
Hannaford Career Center

Middle School Peer Leaders Identify Strengths and Areas of Concern from Survey Data

From the middle school student prevention group, VRED (Vergennes for Responsible Educated Decisions). On November 11 and 14, eleven members of VRED spent the morning at the Boys and Girls Club working with data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). They analyzed data on middle school attitudes and health choices. Topics included wearing safety equipment, using sunscreen, getting bullied, using substances, exercise, nutrition and communication. VRED narrowed about 30 pages of statistics down to a few key strengths and concerns that they thought deserved the most attention. They formed action plans to help reduce the risk of suicide, bullying, and access to alcohol. A key strength that the group recognized was the high percentage of students who believed their parents do not want them to smoke, drink or use drugs. VRED also noted that VUHS exceeded the state average of middle school students who talked with their parents about school on a regular basis. VRED will present their findings and plans to the Commodore Parent Teacher Group at their meeting on January 11th at 6:30 pm in room C2 in the middle school wing. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.

Congratulations VUHS Rowing - Fall 2016

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much we appreciate our collaboration with Vergennes middle and high schools in the after-school rowing program. The LCMM rowing program in the Champlain Valley consist of nine teams and over two-hundred students. Vergennes is the largest team in the Vermont rowing community.

We just wrapped up an incredibly successful fall season with over forty Vergennes students participating. I particularly wanted to give a shout out to Dennis West. Since we built our first boat in the winter of 1999/2000 with Lee Shorey’s ACT program, Dennis has spearheaded the rowing effort at Vergennes. He consistently goes above and beyond, practicing three times a week, coordinating all the out of state and in-state rowing races for Vergennes and also drives the bus to all practices and races. Dennis’ enthusiasm and caring for the students is contagious and that effort is reflected in the incredible turnout we have had.

I was lucky enough to attend the fall rowing awards and dessert ceremony at Vergennes on December 1st (see pics). Over one hundred people filled the cafeteria with energy and enthusiasm. What was particularly obvious to me at this event was that rowing clearly crosses all the academic and socio-economic boundaries. The diversity of the audience and the shared ownership of accomplishment at the ceremony was very evident.

We so appreciate this unique collaboration and look forward to many more years working with Vergennes middle and high school.

Thank You,
Nick Patch
Director of Outdoor Education
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum