Ross School seniors put their talents on display once again with this year’s Senior Project exhibition, where the teens wowed their parents and teachers with special projects they undertook during the fall semester.
Among the 58 projects, students wrote their own songs and stories, recorded their own movies, took photos, mapped out complicated information, and even came up with their own products.
At Thursday evening’s showcase, senior project coordinator Dale Scott said the students picked something they were passionate about and went with it. She said the projects allowed the students to fit in a great deal of independent learning and show their skills.
“This is the culmination of what kids do at Ross,” she said. “This is what makes the school different.”
Adin Doyle wrote a rock opera called “Special Eddy” about a character based on Forrest Gump. Through four songs, Adin illustrates the character’s struggles with peer pressure, drugs, sexuality and religion. Songs like “From 6 to 17” and “Taxes for a Broken Heart” were recorded at producer Cynthia Daniels’s studio in East Hampton.
Storytelling seemed to be a major theme of the night. Caitlin Cummings went in search of folklore from the East End to capture oral history for a book she made that combines those stories with her photography.
Caitlin said she had originally planned to build a hovercraft and then decided she was going to make aluminum castings of ant colonies. Then the romance of myth stemming from an old lighthouse attracted her.
Among her stories is the tale of Captain Kidd, who buried his treasure on Gardiner’s Island. Caitlin said she befriended librarians, historians, archivists and other Long Islanders to put her book together.
She said the hardest part of the whole project was framing her photos for the show.
“I learned that I need to plan ahead more, although it’s always been an issue,” she said. “I enjoyed talking to people to gather the stories, though.”
When asked what she wants to do after she graduates, she said she wants to buy a lighthouse, sail around the world and open a bookstore.
Kendall Coleman may be close to opening her own business already—she created her own natural cosmetics line. While in Kauai, Hawaii, she followed an expert in natural healing around the island and collected ingredients for her products: a papaya seed facial exfoliant, a sun repair facial mask and an anti-aging facial oil. In addition, Kendall made a pamphlet with an ingredient index and description of each product.
Lena Ardengo put together a very honest art installation about searching for self.
Through images, words and video in both Spanish and English, Lena’s thoughts come to life.
“It’s about searching for something and building homes in people when you can’t. It’s about giving yourself to people,” she said, explaining the various articles of clothing and imagery in her installation. “I’m interested in gangs because they create a home out of a group of people and trying to create trust.”
Lena said she plans to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design to pursue photography and videography.
Joe Ando-Hirsh created a wind fan that powers an ultraviolet light-emitting diodes water purification system that cleans water of any sediment and empties it into a small container, where the light from the LEDs kills bacteria. Joe has been busy during his high school years developing water projects, from a small-scale replica of Baron Haussmann’s 19th-century water system in Paris, to testing the effects that different pH levels have on plant growth.
Pearl Williams, an aspiring writer, created a series of writings for her project, “Johnny Rock,” about her estranged father by meeting with him, interviewing him and listening to his stories every weekend. She transformed his stories about his childhood, his lost loves and his distant and recent past into creative nonfiction pieces written in her voice and in his.
“I had a weird, inert desire to get to know him … he is a lost person in a way,” Pearl said. “It was tough but good for me. I surprised myself. I tend to give up on things that are difficult right away, but this time I didn’t.”