We're back!

After a short, but debilitating winter, the cold weather has finally lifted and the sun has returned to its warming position. That means the Academy classes have returned to the great outdoors. Construction on both the trail and the cabin has resumed as students saddle up their boots and bundle up their coats. We're so excited and ready to break free from cabin fever to embrace, well, a new cabin fever.

Thank you for all your continued support!

The Academy

Spaghetti Dinner Success--Moving Forward on Greenhouse Construction

The second Academy spaghetti dinner was a success. Partnering with Concerned Veteran's of America, the class raised over $1,400 for the construction for the greenhouse.

The class will continue to host fundraisers as well as work with HPAC and HERSA to find funding for the proposed Academy greenhouse. Soon this vision will be a reality!

Happy Birthday Dear Skunk Cabbage!

Winter is nearing its inevitable end with the next season springing up soon. With the income of Spring comes a resurgence in plant life. This warming weather kickstarts the blooming of plants, some occurring as soon as late winter. The first bloom of the year for a plant is also occasionally referred to as its plant-birthday.

On Tuesday March 1st, 2016, Crestwood High School’s American Experience Academy class celebrated some of the earliest plant-birthdays, such as maple trees, skunk cabbage, and crocus, in a plant-birthday party.

The plant-birthday party comprised of two separate cakes, one carrot and one chocolate, along with coffee and was done in association with the class’ current reading of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. The students who engaged in the party seemed pleasantly enjoyed by the party. Teacher Angus McDougall’s carrot cake was a big hit with senior Bradley Woodrum stating that, “the carrot cake really helped connect with nature,” and senior Nicole Hocevar whose favorite part was “being able to discuss the growth of nature during the change of seasons while enjoying the carrot cake made by Charles Angus McDougall III.”

The carrot cake was not the only focus of the party, both carrot and chocolate cakes were ravished by the Academy students along with senior Nathaniel Ryan Lind’s favorite component, the coffee. The class as a whole had an enjoyable time celebrating the first plants buds of 2016 and may host more plant-birthday parties in the future.

Written by: Austin Shaffer

Academy I Sewing Progress

The Academy I class is sewing pioneer era clothes for the frontier days, which occurs May 5-7, open to the community on Saturday.

At the beginning of the school year the class was taught the basics of sewing. Applying what they learned, they created their shirts, skirts, shifts (women’s undershirt) and pants. For the majority of the class, the base of their clothes are completed and ready to be worn; beading and decoration will be added for certain students reenacting Indians on the frontier.

Now there is a more difficult project at hand: leather sewing. The class has already been through the process of tanning and softening deer hides, and now they are using their leather to make bags, pouches, and clothing of all sorts.

In an interview with senior Clay Jackson, a student from the Academy I class, he said, “The things that we learn in this class are incredible, but this leather work tops it all. I am very excited to create a nice leather bag that I can use in the frontier days!”

More work is to come for the class, but frontier days is still a ways away. When it comes around, you should too!

Written by: Nate Daczko

HPAC involvement

At Crestwood High School, the program HPAC has taken a strong hold in the school’s culture. HPAC, the Health Professions Affinity Community, is in its second year of involvement. Its program is designed to empower students to change the way communities address health problems and step up to create a project to solve the chosen issue. Many HPAC groups have been formed, with projects ranging from certifying cafeteria teachers in CPR, creating a fitness trail on Crestwood’s property, to building an aquaponic greenhouse.

HPAC has also provided numerous unique opportunities for the students involved. Every year a Scholar’s Day takes place at a local college. During Scholar’s Day participants in HPAC take part in a poster fair and an oral presentation. From there, students that excel are chosen to go on the yearly HPAC trip. For the first time, Crestwood sent two of their own, Karli Bigler and Amanda Lerchbacher, to Boston on the HPAC trip. There they presented their project ideas at a medical conference with forty other ohioans.

One unique way that HPAC has impacted Crestwood is the adoption of its values into a class curriculum. The Academy Two class has formed a group in HPAC. This group consists of around twenty students, where they’re graded based on grant writing, participation and action taken toward the completion of their project. Their project is the aforementioned aquaponic greenhouse.

One of HPAC’s main supporters in Crestwood is the principal, Mr. McMahon. He comments, “In 1954, Walt Disney stated, ‘My only hope is that we never lose hope that it started with one thing… a mouse.’ Walt Disney was one of the greatest visionaries of our time, and his example of putting energy to his vision parallels the energy that students bring to their vision. HPAC is the vehicle that allows for our students vision to become reality.”

With all of the direct effects the organization has had on the school, many lay unnoticed. Student empowerment and leadership are values that slowly are becoming more prominent as teens use self-motivation to follow through on independent projects. HPAC has given students the push to influence the community in a positive way, in turn creating a stronger united community, and more confident teenagers that are ready to take on college.

Written by: Karli Bigler

Aquaponics in Academy II

In order to find the best model for their envisioned greenhouse, the Academy II class built several small aquaponics systems in January. The smaller systems help students understand how aquaponics works and how to do it properly.

Aquaponics has two parts: fish and plants. Fish provide ammonia, a nutrient that the plants can consume. The fish add ammonia to the water, and the plants use the ammonia to grow. Senior Josh Stern, an Academy student, stated, “I think that aquaponics is cool because it is an example of a symbiotic relationship.”

To accomplish this, there are two different setup methods. The easier method is a “Floating Bed,” in which a styrofoam bed holds the plants on top of the water. Stern said, “I’m making a floating system where the styrofoam floats on the water and holds the seeds.” The other method involves a submersible pump. The ammonia water is pumped to a smaller garden, and after the plants remove ammonia it is pumped back to the fish.

The fish can be sold for meat, and the plants can be harvested as well. Aquaponics is an organic method of indoor farming.

The Academy is planning on building an Aquaponics Greenhouse, which will allow them to experiment with smaller systems. The systems grow a variety of plants, including: Spinach, Sunflowers, Peppers, and other vegetables. Currently, Goldfish are being used, but other types of fish are being considered.

Written by: Ephraim Oliphant