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Rondout Valley High School Holds WISE Student Presentations throughout May and June

Rondout Valley High School senior Siddhartha (Sid) Lama has been meditating since age 12, so it is perhaps unsurprising that he picked “Meditation in the Modern World” as his research and presentation topic for the Wise Individualized Senior Experience (WISE) program. 

Siddhartha was chosen as this year’s model presenter, which meant that all current WISE students, as well as students considering enrolling in the program next year, watched his presentation. The students in the 2024 program were also able to listen as the panel of evaluators discussed the presentation, so they could know what to expect when it became their turn to present. 

Sid’s inspirational presentation was just one of the 26 WISE presentations being delivered this Spring at RVHS. As part of the program, Grade 12 students spend their second semester researching and coordinating a presentation on their chosen topic. The class counts towards English and Government requirements or can be taken as an independent study. Each participant has a mentor (a teacher or administrator from the District), with whom they meet once a week. Students are also asked to write a daily journal entry, which is reviewed and commented on by their mentors.

“Topics for WISE projects are chosen by the students,” explains World Language teacher and WISE Coordinator Patricia Abi-Hassan. “They submit a proposal which is reviewed and approved by the WISE Task Force, a group of teachers, community members, and student volunteers who meet once a month throughout the school year to administer the program.” While researching their subject, students are required to do three interviews and review seven sources of secondary research. As part of the project, they must also include information about economics and how it relates to, or impacts, their topic. In addition, there are nine workshops students must attend.

“The final presentations are where these talented students shine,” said Abi-Hassan. The topics for this year include parenting, songwriting, ecosystems, fashion, athletics, business, Rondout Valley, and tattoos, just to name a few. Following each presentation, students meet privately with an evaluator panel consisting of teachers, Task Force members, and/or fellow WISE students trained as evaluators. 

Student presentations, which are open to the entire student body as well as family, friends, and community members, run from May through mid-June. A schedule of presentations can be found at bit.ly/4dw95KT.