On April 24, three Ross seniors visited the Lower School to present their Senior Projects. First up was Daisy Gallaher with “Being Dyslexic.” She showed a video installation, which she designed to provide the viewer with a look into the mind of a dyslexic learner. Next, Teague Costello discussed “Manipulating and Printing the Grain of Wood,” a process he used to create a beautiful series of prints of tree stump surfaces. And finally, Will Greenberg demonstrated his “Melomuse,” a musical instrument that skips the “learning curve” so that anyone can play it and make great music.
All three described how they picked the focus of their Senior Project. Daisy was inspired by her own struggle with dyslexia. She explained that an important part of developing a Senior Project is considering your passions and talents. Will agreed, encouraging the younger students to be unafraid of combining multiple interests when it comes time for them to take their own journey through the Senior Project. As Community Programs Director Chris Engel asked the group to think about how they would “make their mark,” the younger students eagerly called out various interests they would like to explore as seniors. One first grader said she would likely combine two of her favorite subjects—science and candy.
During a question-and-answer period, Daisy was asked about her personal experience with dyslexia. She explained that while it can be harder to learn, people with the disorder are often more creative because they look at things from a different perspective—and she likes this about herself.
Students were riveted as Teague described the intricate process he developed in order to make his prints. Because it can be difficult to get a print from a stump, he first had to sand and scrub the surface, then begin a slow process of burning the wood, and eventually paint the wood. As he shared the creative results of his labor, colorful prints of cedar, cherry and pine stumps, he echoed his classmates’ words about pursuing what you love. He knew he wanted to do artwork for his Senior Project, but his experience also led to research about artists in the field of printmaking and techniques for dealing with a tricky medium. Because there was no formal how-to guide for what he was attempting, developing his Senior Project was also an exercise in self-discovery and developing into somewhat of a trailblazer in his area of artwork.
As Will followed Teague on stage to demo his Melomuse, he engaged the younger kids by asking if anyone played a musical instrument, sharing that his personal favorite was the piano. Will is self-taught, and he chose to create something that could make a beautiful sound but required no lessons.
His invention is based on a digital step sequencer and programmed in advance to play a series of notes related to the button pressed. Students were fascinated and eager to play the one-of-a-kind instrument.
Teachers said the seniors’ visit was a true inspiration for their students, and many are already sharing wonderful ideas for a Senior Project that will leverage their talents and skills and uncover their passions.