Wednesday, September 30, 2020
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Calculus, cardboard canoes, commencement @WVHS

Seniors attended their final day of classes yesterday at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois. The Baccalaureate is set for tonight, and due to limited seating, it’ll be streamed live. Commencement exercises are set for Sunday.

But first, students in the calculus III class of AJ Ruopoli constructed real canoes out of cardboard and raced them in the school’s swimming pool, the Naperville Sun reports.

“We wanted something to keep the kids going after their final, something that was productive and somewhat relative to math,” the paper quoted him as saying. “The boat race seemed like a good fit because it’s something the kids could have fun with and there are some good engineering principles.”

Students began the design process earlier this month, culminating what was for many of them a high school journey marked by similar challenges and triumphs.

“I’ve been an engineering and math student all throughout high school so this was a nice way to cap off my high school journey,” the Sun quoted senior Andrew Bridgeman as saying. “It was nice to do something that wasn’t for a grade that we were just able to have fun with.”

Unlike graduation, this one required use of only cardboard and duct tape, and the boats had to hold at least two people. Regatta winners: Gowtham Venkatachalam and Jason Paximadas. “I have been really impressed with the creativity of the kids,” Mr Ruopoli added. “I never know what they are going to build because they just take it and run with it.”

And so it is with graduation, which will scatter seniors on a myriad of postsecondary paths. They will take it in stride as they keep running with it.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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