Waldorf School shows off eighth-grade projects
SANTA CRUZ, Mar 22, 2013 (Santa Cruz Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Parents, teachers and friends were treated to an amateur version of a TED Talks convention at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School on Wednesday as a dozen eighth-graders discussed subjects ranging from architecture, beauty and design to art, robots, music and skate parks.
In their last year at the private, K-8 school, students create projects based on subjects that have piqued their interest. While researching and writing papers on the subject, they seek out help and advice from professionals in those fields, who serve as their mentors. The school has just 155 students, 12 of them in the eighth grade, said their teacher, Susan Goldstein.
In her project, "Elements of Beauty," Natalia Benish-Kalna combined her love for makeup and photography into a visual montage, with each of her models representing nymphs, the mythological Greek creatures she discovered while doing her research.
Next up was Bonnie Chope, who combined her love for fashion with recycling by designing a dress made out of old phone cards, and a skirt from old ties. The average American tosses away 54 pounds of old clothing every year, she told the audience, encouraging them to shop more in thrift stores and find ways to recycle clothing rather than just casting it aside.
Kai Schmidt made an intricately designed skate park out of plywood, which sat in a corner of the room while he discussed the history of skate parks. The popularity of the sport rose during the 1970s,
with the world's first was created in 1976 in Carlsbad, he said, before describing several different types of skate parks and touching on different design elements.
Meanwhile, Michaela Turzo discussed the media's role in projecting the image of what the ideal woman should look like, and how damaging those idealized images can be to women's self esteem. Near the end of her talk, she showed a time-lapse video of makeup being applied to an ordinary-looking woman, then her face being digitally manipulated until it was good enough to place on a roadside billboard.
She came up with the idea a couple months ago, she said after the talk, adding she wanted it "to be meaningful and grab people's attention."
With an avid interest in architecture, another student, Sadie Collins, took the opportunity to create a design for a house, complete with a bar and loft. During her research, she said, she went to the surveyor's office the zoning department and other county offices.
"There's rules and regulations for everything," she said, eliciting laughs from the audience. "Even a light switch -- no kidding."
The school was founded in 1976 near UC Santa Cruz, and its campus contains an assortment of classrooms, a garden, woodworking shop and other buildings for its students to enjoy. Faculty members serve as administrators, and parents are heavily involved in their children's education by serving as classroom assistants, organizing fairs and festivals and other activities.
Follow Sentinel reporter Kimberly White on Twitter at Twitter.com/kwhite95066
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