ABOUT THIS SITE
The Three Designers of the Web Page (Ravi Kavasery, Serge Aimï¿½, & Alexander Mittendorf) Illustrate the Principles of Franklin's Glass Armonica (1998 -- The Mittendorf Residence)
How does a team select a
topic for designing a web page?
Thinkquest is an international contest in which students from around the world create educational web sites. Soon after, Alex contacted his friend Serge Aimï¿½, a Haitian immigrant residing in Brooklyn, NY. Serge, an outstanding student in French, suggested that he could provide a full translation of the text in French. Because Franklin performed many of his accomplishments in France, the translation seemed quite appropriate.
After months of extensive research by all three participants, a biography detailing the multi-dimensional character of Franklin was written. Afterwards, work on the French translation was initiated by Serge and Alex, both capable French students who have won scholarships to study abroad in France. Meanwhile, Ravi started to create the web site itself. An artist with an excellent grasp of both design and concept, he wrote out the entire site in HTML and continued to research the life and times of Franklin. He and Alex were both experienced at creating and publishing web sites for non-profit associations. In fact, in 1997, they founded an organization known as , which provides free web publishing services to not-for-profit groups.
Throughout the intensive collaboration between team members, the construction of the web site proved to be a learning experience. Eschewing HTML editors for their restrictive environment, the site was designed largely through MICROSOFT NOTEPAD. For more tedious tasks however, MICROSOFT FRONTPAGE 97 was used.
Although in the past we encouraged visitors to contribute their favorite anecdotes, interesting facts, quotations, and experiments regarding the life of Benjamin Franklin, the creators of the site will no longer have the time to respond to e-mail inquiries. As of August 1999, all three website authors are embarking on a new stage in their life and are poised to commence university studies. Due to the new obligations of college life, the authors will be unable to continue to devote energy to the site. However, we still eagerly await and appreciate all of your comments and suggestions. Please e-mail us at
For archive purposes, the comments of visitors have been recorded locally at our site. Click here to view the archived visitor log with instructions on how to recreate the log in any spreadsheet application.
The Final Word
Although all three web developers prepare to enter a new phase in life, Benjamin Franklin: An Enlightened American shall remain forever as a resource to all who wish to benefit from the wisdom of America's greatest forefather. Above all, the teammates wish to acknowledge each other's contributions. Special thanks to Alex Mittendorf for emphasizing (and demonstrating) the importance of sleep even as the contest deadline loomed imminent. And yet the project could never have succeeded without the contributions of Serge Aimï¿½, who kept everything in perspective and provided a superb French translation, even if one or two pages are more akin to Russian in the Cyrillic alphabet rather than French. All kidding aside, thanks for everything! Nevertheless, the utmost gratitude is reserved for our team captain Ravi Kavasery, who worked himself into a stupor yet still maintained a sense of humor throughout the wonderful ordeal and insisted on watching Seinfeld that night. Honestly, Ravi was truly a great captain and in order to insure that he earned the title, we all made certain that he suffered the full effects of sleep deprivation.
Yet, in the process of completing the website, all three team members discovered that, while Benjamin Franklin continues to serve as a source of infinite wisdom and inspiration, they undoubtedly learned more from each other and their shared experiences. Reflecting on the one year (two weeks) of tireless effort, the only regret is that the experience passed too quickly, and the only shackles were those wrought by the limits of time. Barring temporal constraints, the site would not only have been of far superior caliber, but the site's designers would have benefited from a longer period of common devotion to a single cause.
However, we cannot write the final chapter without appreciating some very important people. Who can forget the parents of all team members? The Kavasery family undoubtedly made the greatest sacrifice, adopting two more children during that two week period. Thanks to Mom, Dad, and Ravi's sister Nimmi! At the same time, the willingness of Serge's and Alex's parents to permit their sons to board at the Kavasery residence must also be described as the ultimate sacrifice, or the most wonderful of opportunities (you decide). Thanks to mom, Ingrid Mittendorf, for her proofreading efforts as well as her keen eye for English grammar. Dr. Hemmick, Longwood's premier science teacher, deserves laudatory remarks that are beyond our combined vocabulary. Ever since her high school Science Research Seminar at Longwood High School, she has been the inspiration behind the Franklin project and our chief motivator, encouraging us to enter the Thinkquest contest and to pursue myriad other activities. Yet, the project would have indubitably failed had it not been for the support of Sarah J. Hale High School's outstanding French instructor, who provided only constructive criticism in insuring the integrity of the French translations.
As this project finally comes to a close, we shall conclude with a poem, submitted to our Guestbook in confidence by a certain New York State Assemblyman's Chief of Staff. It reads:
Where art thou dear ol'
The poem is both an admonishment and a source of optimism. Above all, it states that unique circumstances give rise to unique men, who rush forth to meet the greatest of challenges for the benefit of all mankind. As the next generation prepares to face the obstacles and danger of the twenty-first century, Benjamin Franklin, unfortunately, cannot be resurrected. Yet, united in a spirit of humanity, there will be other Benjamin Franklins to come along the way. We all can only aspire as such...
Team 22254--August 8, 1999
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