Sheffield Historical Society exhibits Mount Everett students' projects


SHEFFIELD — No longer one-and-done, an annual middle school event at Mount Everett Regional School is having an extended run on Main Street.

Twenty of the 100 three-dimensional projects from the recent Expo Night are on display at the Sheffield Historical Society's Old Stone Store gallery.

The limited-engagement, weekend-only exhibit that opened Feb. 13 runs through this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

"Because Expo only runs one night at the school, having it at the Historical Society for 3 weekends means family members and the public that couldn't make it out that night get a chance to see the kids' accomplishments," said the society's administrator, Jennifer Owens.

"It fills up 2 floors of the Old Stone Store ... and it is one of our biggest exhibits ever," she said.

For nearly 30 years, Mount Everett middle-schoolers have spent half the school year researching, crafting and writing the text for their projects. The seventh-graders work off a theme — this year Egypt — whereas the eight grade projects are science-based.

Until this year, the months of hard work were only displayed on Expo Night, held in early February. Turning the Expo into an exhibition has proven a hit with the community with plenty of people viewing the project during the first two weekends, Owens said.

Amalae McCloud is thrilled her daughter, eighth-grader Bekka McCloud and the other students are being well-received.

"It's like they are semi-famous," she said.

The students on hand for Saturday's formal reception for the exhibit welcomed the added public attention.

"We spend a lot of time on this and it's nice to let more people see it," said seventh-grader Sonya Spitzer.

In an age of computer design and 3-D printers, the Expo Night projects are old school, enhanced by new-school methods of research on the Internet.

Mount Everett middle school team leader Jesse Carpenter noted the students' ingenuity and creativity in creating the show-and-tell models that accompanied the poster board backdrops providing the facts and photos of the subject matter on display.

"We get kids using a lot of things from around the house," he said. "We don't encourage them to spend $100 on supplies."

Eighth-grader Cole Duval, of Tolland, had one of the more elaborate set-ups for his topic title," Caves and Cave Formations."

The 14-year-old made a wooden replica of a cave interior, showing stalactites, stalagmites, photos of existing caves and the importance of bats — the best known mammal cave dwellers. Duval's inspiration came from visiting a local natural preserve.

"On a trip to Bartholomew's Cobble I found a [small] cave and I found the bones of a woodchuck and that gave me the idea," he said.

Bekka McCloud chose "Life of an Owl" for her project theme, which features a to-scale paper mache owl perched on a piece of deadwood, the left wing extended. The 14-year-old from Great Barrington is fascinated by the nocturnal bird of prey, which she learned plenty about.

"They live longer in captivity and move their head side-to-side to have a better perspective of things," she said.

For the seventh-grade theme of Egypt, Sonya Spitzer examined the ancient Egyptian class structure from the pharaoh atop the social hierarchy to the slaves and servants at the bottom. Spitzer was amazed to find gender equality, at least among the Egyptian elite.

"The role women played in Eqypt, they were almost equal to men — they could own land," she noted.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.


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