Buzz in the Halls

A look at happenings and events at Allentown High School.

By: Pam Koharchik
   Last semester, Linda Stefaniak and Linda Chiapetta presented their Contemporary Life Science class at Allentown High School with a choice. They could either take the comprehensive final exam or complete a course-long project.
   The class voted out the final exam (shocking!) in favor of the more creative project, which evolved into a coloring book about the Pine Barrens Tree Frog. The prototype is in, and later this spring, the finished book will be distributed to Upper Freehold’s fourth-graders, and be available to students statewide.
   "The project was more work than they thought," stated science teacher Ms. Stefaniak.
   The project began when in-class support teacher Mrs. Chiapetta attended a fall festival in the Pine Barrens and met up with Rebecca Free of the New Jersey Nature Conservancy. Ms. Free had a booth advertising in-classroom visits, so Mrs. Chiapetta spoke with her about coming in to talk to our students. Ms. Free was more than happy to put together a visit, even purchasing some carnivorous plants out of her own money to make the talk more interesting.
   When Mrs. Chiapetta asked if the kids could do anything to help the conservation of the Pine Barrens, the idea of the coloring book was offered, and the excited class jumped on it.
   Originally, the idea was that each student in the class would come up with one page of copy. However, by the end, things had been shuffled and switched around so many times that all their work was integrated.
"It was challenging because what the kids were writing couldn’t be redundant. Plus, we had to do letter diagrams linking the last sentences of one page with the first sentences of the next. It wasn’t easy," said Ms. Stefaniak.
   Pictures were found on the Internet and in books of items relevant to the copy. Students then developed sketches based on the pictures.
   "Another hard issue was researching and giving credit to the original artist or photographer that we based our drawings on," added Ms. Stefaniak. Students were allowed to contribute in whichever way they were most comfortable, whether it be through writing, drawing or layout.
   The books will be distributed to the fourth-graders in our district, and will be made available to all who visit the Nature Conservancy in Browns Mills. They will also be distributed during future festivals, lectures and class visits. Those involved in the class are Kristina Bonnett, Don Deuchar, Bobby Harchettes, Lauren Hellriegel, Mike Kinmon, Nicole LaFata, Jon Lemanski, Melissa Martins, Lauren Milne, Besarta Morina, Patrick Murphy, Jayson Pascual, Lucas Raines, Victoria Stemmer, Heather Tranosky, Melissa Weber and Alyssa Williams.
   This semester, Ms. Stefaniak has her Astronomy class involved in a project with NASA. The Deep Impact project, in conjunction with McRel, will study jet propulsion. The students will be involved with an interactive panel discussion to come up with the types of cameras and instruments to be used in a future mission, based on their role as taxpayers and children of taxpayers. For more information on that, go to:
Buzzing in the halls this week: Congrats to the seven students whose art has been selected by the Monmouth County Teen Arts judges to be displayed at the state festival at TCNJ in May. They are Meghan Anderson, Rita DeAngelo, Lauren Farrell, Lindy Hewitt, Elaine Lee, Josh Neuman and Jordan Stalsworth . . .
   Speaking of artists, if you’ve been by the Post Office on Main Street, you may have noticed spring artwork displayed in the windows. This contest featured Art 1 students. Taking first prize is Teresa Erndl, second prize is Nick Pape, and third prize is Avery Pontell-Schaefer. Honorable Mentions are awarded to Samantha Malik and Jessica Tronco.
Pam Koharchik is an English teacher at Allentown High School.