The first full week of GovsPLUS was about as fun-filled and academically packed a week as possible with GovsPLUS. Students broadened their view of campus and stretched beyond the dining hall and Student Center, getting comfortable with all facilities this week. By week’s end GovsPLUS had made its mark on the organic garden, the electronic classroom, Kaiser, and the math and science building. We even took an afternoon field trip to the Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flapps Education Center in Newburyport and finished the week in Govs “Non Sibi Sed Aliis” (“Not for self, but for others”) style with a service project in Lawrence.
After a long morning getting back in the swing of classes, Govs PLUS students spent Monday afternoon working with Buildings and Grounds crew member and organic garden expert, Mr. Peter Swift. Mr. Swift took students on a brief tour of the garden before laying out the groundwork for the summer’s long gardening project that students will undertake. He then showed students how to care of the garden by weeding, watering, planting, and harvesting. Students were excited to learn that plants that were harvested in the garden were brought to the dining hall to be used to prepare meals! GovsPLUS students began planting a series of lettuce which will grow from seed to maturity over the duration of the program.
After some time in the organic garden, students switched up and worked with Govs teacher Mr. Currie Huntington who showed students the fundamentals of Electronic Music. Students learned what electronic music is and were introduced to a program they will work with to create their own original music this summer.
Tuesday afternoon featured an exciting visit from Govs chemistry teacher Mrs. Lisa Borgatti who wowed students with scientific “magic” like what happens when you combine mentos and diet coke and what the inside of a penny looks like. After blowing up a few gummy bears and creating a homemade carbon snake, Mrs. Borgatti packed the biggest bang when she filled a balloon with hydrogen and oxygen and asked unsuspecting staff member Paola to hold a candle near the balloon. Boom! The reaction between these two elements created one of the loudest noises and biggest fireballs that even Mrs. Borgatti had ever heard or seen!
A guest visit from Govs learning specialist Mrs. Brigitta Allen on Wednesday afternoon helped students understand a bit more about learning styles. Mrs. Allen then divulged some tricks of the trade for studying that came in handy almost immediately as students had tests in both Problem Solving and Communications classes on Thursday!
As a reward for their hard work all week, students took a rare Thursday afternoon field trip to the nearby Joppa Flats Education Center. There, they experienced a series of hands-on activities that involved learning about different creatures and animals particularly those that are swept in with tides that splash into the shore. GovsPLUS students were eager to hold the animals and learn more about them. This was the first official off-campus trip for GovsPLUS and it was a big success!
To end the week, students took the first of four day-long Friday field trips right into their home city of Lawrence for a joint community service project with local organization Groundwork Lawrence. Joining Groundwork Lawrence’s high school-aged “Green Team”, GovsPLUS students spent the morning tending to a garden in Costello Park (thanks for the gardening tips, Mr. Swift!) and weeded plants whose produce will be donated to the Bread and Roses Food Pantry or sold at the local farmers’ market. After a quick lunch and some play time (it was a park, afterall), GovsPLUS joined a second Green Team for a group cleanup of the O’Connell South Common (no relation to communications teacher Ms. Erin O’Connell). Students were energetic, hard-working, and eager to give back to their community despite the heat and the long week they had already worked through. GovsPLUS students should be proud of the outstanding effort they put in all week, especially in this day-long service project. Three more great weeks are on the horizon!