To the Editor:

Education outside the box?

A few weeks ago, all residents of the towns of Region 12 received a postcard with a large photo of a young man driving an orange backhoe.

The postcard posed a question for recipients to ponder: Education outside the box?

It's the month of June, and Shepaug Valley High School seniors have not only completed their final year of high school, they have also been at the culmination of their year-long senior projects.

As a closing chapter to their education, seniors were required to invent, plan and carry out a project.

The goal of this program is to give students real-world skills in planning and working cooperatively to bring their project to fruition, as well as effectively presenting their completed project to a group.

Projects are as varied as the students' interests: Sarah hosted a TedX talk at Shepaug, Hannah took on the planning and execution of an inter-district track meet, Michael was rebuilding the school's recording studio and William was creating and publishing a graphic novel.

These are just a few examples of students' ideas.

Education outside of the box means there is more to learning than preparing for exams. This program helps students to understand what it takes to bring an idea all the way from inception to success.

Graduating from high school with an understanding of the challenges of planning, updating and sticking with a year-long project is the kind of real-life experience that makes a true building block for future work, whether that be at a university or in a career setting.

It's outside the box education where the onus for learning and growing is on the student, and the pride in accomplishment also sits squarely on the student's shoulders.

We hope you will consider donating to the Shepaug Student Project Foundation (SSPF), a 501c(3) charity, which exists to help students cover the costs of their projects.

Donations can be made on the foundation's website or by mail, SSPF, Inc., 159 South St., Washington, CT 06793.

Kathleen Giaranno

James Gustin

Barbara Henry

Cornelius Kennedy

Amy Moisan

John Moisan

Shepaug Student

Project Foundation

Board of Directors

Region 12