Logan McQuivey, GBP Student
As we begin to approach the end of semester one in GBP, we’ve started to take a look at the Community Action Project (CAP). For those unfamiliar with CAP, the goal is to encourage and enable us (the students of GBP) to effect change in our community, while practicing and reinforcing the learning goals we’ve studied in the class thus far. However, I think a number of students (myself included) were having trouble grasping exactly what this project might look like - so the GBP teachers aptly decided to bring in the big guns.
As we came back from lunch on Wednesday, January 6, we were greeted by Talia Shapiro and Haley Bowse, two students enrolled in last year’s GBP class. They kindly took time out of their day to come and give a presentation - punnily named “reCAP” - about the projects their teams worked on last spring. Talia’s team initially hoped to reduce water bottle waste, but they ended up working towards acquiring a solar-powered compacting trash can for the school. Haley’s group focused their attentions on reinvigorating school spirit, through tailgates and T-Shirts. They explained the processes they went through, as well as what kind of meetings and surveys they found were necessary and how to go about doing those things. Maybe more important, however, was the plethora of advice they shared, both about how to be successful and how to avoid their past mistakes. They both stressed the importance of avoiding monetarily dependent projects, using class and personal time efficiently, and getting meetings done way ahead of time. Although neither of their teams succeeded in making their project a reality, they shared examples from their class of the projects that were a success. Overall, it was great to see project through former students’ eyes, which helped make it more relatable than a rubric is able to.
Afterwards, we had the pleasure of hearing from our Superintendent, Dr. Gutekanst. His presentation was about a CAP-like project that he has been a part of over the past few years here in Needham. This project has to do with the need to rebuild the Hillside school and the struggle of finding a suitable location. This presentation was particularly impactful because it was a “real-world” example… not that the CAP isn’t real world, but the Hillside project is something happening on a much bigger scale and it shows that this type of endeavor is relevant in our adult lives. In fact, Dr. Gutekanst had just been at a meeting presenting the building plans earlier that morning. He explained how this project evolved over time, how new options and obstacles arose, and how he and the school board dealt with those changes. He emphasized the importance of group work, open mindedness, and communicating regardless of whether it was good or bad news. His presentation showed how a project like this is translated onto a much larger scale, and made us feel that, by comparison, a CAP is much more attainable.
I’m definitely glad we had the opportunity to hear from both the GBP alumnae and Dr. Gutekanst. They all were able to share their perspectives and insights about the project, but also into the skills and processes that would be crucial to our CAPs. As we ruminate on our project proposals, I’m sure many of us are thinking back to the presentations we saw, and the advice that was offered. Here’s to hoping our final projects CAPture the very best elements of the examples we saw!
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