On break, St. Al students will continue to care for outdoor classroom|[06/11/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

School’s been out for a couple of weeks, but for 10 St. Aloysius students it will continue through the summer.

Keiko Booth’s ninth-grade honors geometry class will continue to water and care for their outdoor classroom during their 2 1/2-month-long break. The project, Booth said, would replace an exam grade for the end of the semester.

Though originally intended as an end-of-the-year project, the outdoor classroom transformed into a gift for their fellow students.

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“We wanted to do something that everybody could use,” said Brianna Beesley, 15.

The classroom features a swing, a table with a whiteboard, benches and a concrete block inscribed with the class members’ names. Any teacher can use the outdoor classroom.

Booth tied the project to geometry by having each student create a scale drawing. The class then voted on the three favorite designs, then incorporated parts of each design into the final project. For instance, 15-year-old Lauren Rabalais’ initial plan included a gazebo and a deck – a plan that was eventually scaled down to a flower bed that was incorporated into the class plan.

Josh Williams’ scale drawing included a bench swing that the class agreed should go in the classroom.

“We cut all the wood at our house, and it took over 50 hours,” the 15-year-old said. “I designed it and my dad worked on it to make it structurally sound.”

“He (Josh) lived and breathed the project,” said Hunter Johnson, 15.

Each of the 10 students has four assigned days he or she will visit the school to water the plants.

This was Booth’s third year teaching math at St. Aloysius. She said she always does a big project with the honors class, but this year was special.

“I just wanted to do something different with them,” she said.

The project was made possible by families’ donations of building materials and work, St. Al’s Student Council and the St. Al softball team. Booth estimated the total cost of the project, including labor, was $800.

The practical application of turning scale drawings into real objects taught the students an important lesson.

“Do not estimate,” Michael Stuart, 15, said. “If you estimate when building a bridge, you could have a 3-foot gap.”

The brains behind the brawnBrianna Beesley, 15, the daughter of Val and Cindi BeesleyEverett Bexley, 15, the son of Bill Bexley and Weesie BiedenharnCicily Chiarito, 15, the daughter of Dr. Susan and Vince ChiaritoTaylor Ann Hasty, 15, the daughter of Brad and Denise HastyNatalie Henry, 15, the daughter of Taylor Henry and Jennifer HenrySara Howington, 15, the daughter of Jamie and Cindy HowingtonHunter Johnson, 15, the son of Bud and Valeria JohnsonLauren Rabalais, 15, the daughter of Conrad and Patricia RabalaisMichael Stuart, 15, the son of Stephen and Mickey StuartJosh Williams, 15, the son of John and Lori Williams