Two Senior Projects to Gaze Upon

pasha-bwPasha Bullock:

Explain your project:

My project is to determine the fastest possible route from home plate to second base dependent upon the specific characteristics of the person running. Ultimately, I created an equation that can be graphed to find this route and then made an accompanying art piece displaying it.

What inspired you to do this project?

My love for baseball, physics, and art. Also, my natural curiosity.

What does your equation do?

It uses five variables (4 independent, 1 dependent), each relating to a specific part of the route. This equation is then graphed using tables of graphs to be able to account for the 4 independent variables. Then, once all of the graphs are found, as well as all of their relative minimums, the lowest of those values, and the conditions under which the value exists, is found. That is the most timely route.

What did you do before this project?

I was planning on using unharnessed wind energy in swaying trees to pull water up a tree via a mechanism that I would have created. It involved a pipet (I was just building a model), weight, and rotating chamber-like structures. Unfortunately, but in a weird way fortunately, that failed.

Explain your background in math:

I was in the regular level math for my grade until my sophomore year. During geometry (sophomore year), I suddenly found out not only my aptitude for math, but my passion for it as well. Following that epiphany, I took Algebra 2 over the summer in hopes to move up to the advanced class. Ever since that, I have pursued math in and out of school and developed a stronger and stronger passion for it.

How did you get your hours in? When did you work on the project?

For the notebook/equation-creating-part I can do it really anywhere and anytime as long as I have a calculator, paper, and pen, so I am able to work on it during school between classes, at home, and really anywhere that I am. However, the art part requires the use of many tools so I could only do that at home with the use of my uncles massive tool-shed. With that, I do it mostly on the weekends or right after school.

How has the process been? Hard? Easy? Long to finish?

It has been really frustrating, especially going through periods where the equation didn’t seem like it would work or there were many more variables I had to account for. Also, when my first project failed, I was temporarily flabbergasted. A graph of my stress level would have a peak at this point.

How will your project benefit the community?

My project includes an art piece displaying the equation which will be donated to the school. Hopefully this information will be used some by our baseball team and other Orcas Island baseball programs to help optimize their games. Additionally, and probably most importantly, I hope that my project inspires younger students to take interest in physics and math with the understanding that it relates so closely to sports and seemingly non-school-related things.

halle-bwHalle Thompson:

Explain your project:

I built a Japanese Zen garden at the school by the culinary arts room!

What inspired you to make the Zen garden?

On our Japan trip, we each studied an art form, and I chose to focus on the Zen gardens because I thought they were unique. I ended up falling in love with them and wanted to build one at home. A friend of mine passed away in early April as well. Her family was Japanese American and I was first exposed to Japanese culture through spending time with her family, so it seemed very appropriate to make something beautiful and culturally authentic in her honor. There’s a plaque in the garden dedicating it to her.

What does the garden look like? Are there any main features?

The main feature is the concrete rock garden, installed by myself, Gwydion Mareth, and Dylan Thompson. The concrete portion has large rocks surrounded by a ripple of smaller rocks, which traditionally symbolizes water and earth.

This year’s Japanese connections program brought back a statue of hands pressed together as though in prayer. The hands are on a small rock, surrounded by succulents. They definitely stand out as one of the more important features of the garden.

The garden as a whole consists of a pathway to two wooden benches, a rock garden, and assorted rocks and plants around it. All of this is surrounded by a bamboo fence and a torii gate, which was handmade by Mackey Cardinell and Hayden Simpson.

How did you choose the location for the garden?

When I brought the idea of a location to Mr. Freeman, we walked around campus together. The only other option seemed to be a patch of land by Aspen’s garden. I chose the space I have because it’s in the middle of campus, right by the door to a classroom, so lots of foot traffic will pass by so it will be more likely to be used and maintained after I graduate. It was a perfect spot because it already had two cherry blossoms growing there!

How did you get your hours in? When did you work on the project?

I got double the hours I needed. I’m only enrolled in one class at the high school at the moment, so I spent a lot of school hours working on it.

How has the process been? Hard? Easy? Long to finish?

Hard! Very long to finish! SO much money and materials and steps! I chose the project to learn about landscaping, but the little experience I had became a big obstacle. I wouldn’t have gotten it done if it weren’t for all the help I got from friends and family, especially Gwydion Mareth, who logged enough hours on my project to graduate having completed two senior projects. Without his expertise and commitment, I’d never have made my vision a reality. It would be an ugly pile of rocks.

How do you hope the garden will positively impact future students at school?

I wanted the garden to be a public zen zone. Zen gardens have a calm atmosphere and are traditionally used for mediation and self reflection. High school can be tough and I thought a safe, quiet, designated calm space would be a good legacy to leave behind. I also hope it brings about an appreciation and interest for Japan and the Japan program our school offers!