By Jenna Kosinski          

A little more than a week before graduation, the senior class of 2013 took part in one of the more important activities of its final weeks at AHS:  the Senior Exhibition.

The goal of Senior Exhibition is to complete an independent project over the course of a year and then execute a demonstration of what has been learned. The idea is to help students go beyond what they might learn in a traditional high school class and pursue any interest they may have. Mr. Michaud helps run the Senior Exhibition and enjoys the “real world learning” aspect it has to offer.  He also says that it “teaches students about taking the initiative to do their own research-based project and share their findings with the community.”

Marina Renton decided to do a Senior Exhibition project in which she “implemented an improvisational storytelling program” at Atria Marland Place (an assisted living facility), where she volunteers. The program, TimeSlips, helps residents with dementia by “replacing the pressure of remembering with the freedom to imagine.” The program involves showing memory-impaired patients pictures and allowing them to come up with a story about that images. Because of her own interest in storytelling, Renton decided to become a certified facilitator to practice this method, and began working with the residents at Marland Place. She says that her experience “has been a positive [one]” and that it has “increased [her] understanding and awareness of dementia while appreciating the creative potential and humanity of the residents.”

Another senior who  presented at Exhibition Night was Kelsey Stevens, known for her photography, which she feels is a “crucial part of [her] life.”  Stevens decided to do her project when the high school’s Portfolio Photography class was canceled.  Because she wants to pursue photography, she decided to use the Senior Exhibition as her own Portfolio Photography class. Stevens’ portfolio won the Gold Key Award in the Boston All Scholastics Art & Writing Competition, which was the highest award given in that category.

Stevens also says she is very grateful for her success. She knows that in order to be successful you have to step outside of your comfort zone.  She says, “The competitions I entered last year taught me that I shouldn’t always submit the safe photo. So this year, through numerous projects, I found what I was passionate about in my photography. When I did this I ended up much more successful.”

Stevens also expressed that her experiences in the past year have allowed her to become a more unique photographer. She says, “I take pictures of what I want, and not necessarily of what I think other people will like.”

The senior class leaving the high school this year will be missed by all. They have brought great school spirit to the student body in athletics and in the classroom. The Senior Exhibition projects are only one example of their enthusiasm for learning and their excitement to pursue their interests in the years ahead of them.