Lisbon High School seniors took center stage as part of a two day Senior Exhibition project, a requirement for graduation. Tension was in the air as members of the senior class got ready to give their 12-minute speeches to a panel of community judges. The topic was chosen by them at the beginning of the school year.

On Thur., Mar. 20, this Advocate reporter had the opportunity to view Zachary Campbell’s presentation on landscaping. Zach explained his project to the judges and the three members of the Class of 2009 who were also observing for the day. Zach’s presentation was very informative, covering everything from the cost of the materials to design.

Learning about landscaping was a new trade for Zach, and he said he “learned something new while doing his project.” I asked Zach how he felt before and during the presentation. “I didn’t feel too nervous before, but once it got started I started to stutter,” shared Zach.

Principal Ken Healey shared, “The seniors are fine after they finish their presentation. They are not so nervous and are relieved.”

Approximately 45 hours were devoted to this project by the students. A 10-page research paper that coincides with the topic, 15 hours with a mentor shadowing in his or her given field, a creation of a visual, and the public speaking component, are required for the project. I asked Principal Healey if he thought the seniors were given enough time to complete the assignment on top of their regular studies and he responded, “I think students had an adequate amount of time to complete this project. The ones not ready would not be ready even if more time to complete was given.”

I was able to catch up with some of the community judges for the event and the overall responses were very positive on the students’ presentations. Matthew Brzozowski, a first year judge for Student Exhibitions shared, “I think it went well. The program teaches students to how to talk in front of an audience, how to create a large-scale project, and how to put it all together for the final show.”

I had an opportunity to interview a group of the veteran judges. Officer Dan St. Michel from the Lisbon Police Department shared, “Good, quality of the projects on average and presentations are getting even better. Most of the students are prepared, but standing in front of three or four people will make anyone nervous. But as the students get into the presentation you can see them relax more, and they share what they know about their topic.”

Community Resource Coordinator for Lisbon Schools, Monica Millhime, had the responsibility of inviting over 50 community judges for the two day event. “This year I made a concentrated effort to invite more parents of students in the community to debunk the myth of how difficult the Senior Exhibition process is for students. It was very obvious to our judges by the quality of presentations this year that the earlier students embark on this project, the smoother the whole process comes to fruition. I start working with seniors in September to find a mentor match for their topics. Starting early in the school year allows the student the opportunity to meet deadlines for various components and have fun working with their mentors,” shares Millhime.

Zach offered this final word of advice to LHS juniors, “Start early and get the information together before going into your senior year.”

Once again, thanks to the gracious donation from our community partners at Food City in Lisbon, all Senior Exhibition students, staff and visiting community judges were treated to a delicious luncheon during the two-day event.

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