While some may bemoan the temperate climate that has been oursfor most of January, the students of Genesis at Xaverian thoroughlyenjoyed the warm weather last week as they fled the classroom andcompleted their own Brooklyn Experience.
Taking full advantage of the rich and diverse history of theborough, these ambitious middle-schoolers threw themselves intofive vastly different projects that served to highlight thecultural, architectural, literary and environmental gifts thatBrooklyn has to offer.
This project is one of exploration, discovery and learning,said Patricia McEvoy , director of Genesis. Each of our studentshas a stake in this project and is excited about leading theexperience.
This extensive, traveling research workshop saw three groupsscatter across the borough. The first arrived in Prospect Park toexplore The Last Forest in Brooklyn. There, they hiked the trails,staged a scavenger hunt and collected samples to understand betterhow pollution affects the air, soil and natural resources of TheLast Forest.
After climbing Lookout Hill and visiting the Audubon Center, thestudents tested the PH level of the water in the lake, obtainingsamples that, they were happy to report, were actually prettygood.
In Brooklyn Heights, students went on a walking tour, visitingthe homes of famous literary figures from Brooklyn. Beginning atthe foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, they found the former residencesof Norman Mailer, Truman Capote and Thomas Wolfe, who, apparently,had not come home. These kids actually created four different toursthat focused on Authors, Artists, Musicians and Actors ofBrooklyn.
Upon their return, they headed to their computers, with onegroup producing a book and another producing a movie and game show,complete with commercials, about the Brooklyn Experience.
A third group spent its first day touring Saint James Cathedralin Downtown Brooklyn and Queen of All Saints Church in Fort Greene.A tour of the Basilica at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, exploring thestained glass windows in the Upper Church, followed, as didsubsequent trips to St. Athanasius and St. James.
In their workshop back at school, these young artists createdsmall mosaics using photos of the windows, which led to ananalytical discussion as to the themes of the windows.
The students in the Bridge project , with the help of a visitingarchitect, first created Arched Warren Truss bridges, theintermediate step required before they begin work on their ownbridge.
Next, it was off to the Shore Road overpass to acquire a betterunderstanding of the architectural design of the Verrazano-NarrowsBridge. Duly inspired, they constructed bridges of every size,shape and model, all of which compared favorably to some of ourcity’s bridges so in need of repair. This group was certainly hometo some future engineers.
Friday, it was on to the presentation of the finished product.Parents, faculty and students alike marveled at the detail of theresearch projects, bridges, stained glass, books and movies. Theweek culminated with a buffet lunch that features The Tastes andFlavors of Brooklyn as the Genesis parents feted the school witheverything from corned beef and cabbage to paella.
This was truly an event to celebrate, said McEvoy. TheGenesis faculty worked tirelessly all week to see this projectthrough from beginning to end. I am especially grateful to Mrs.Regina McCormack, Ms. Valerie Gilson, Mr. Tom Snyder, Mr. JamesSchreiner, Ms. Mary Scally and Mr. Rob Procida. Their leadershipand enthusiasm, as always, was inspiring.