If you really like this site press
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Samantha on the left; Michelle on the right
Samantha - 8th grade - middle school student
I am in the eighth grade in a very small locality. I had heard of Thinkquest
through Michelle, who has been a very proactive advocate of the program,
having spoken in PTA, where she illustrated the powerful educational resources
being developed. Her compelling demonstrations captured the interest of faculty,
parents, and honor students visiting for awards presentations. She really went
behind the scenes in this exciting process.
My interests lie in reading, history (I'm a member of the history club), basketball,
and music. I play in the band and am a member of the Junior Beta Club. Even though
the standards of learning applicable to our school dictate that we know how to
develop a web page by the 8th grade, we are not tested on these skills, even throughout
high school. As a result we do not receive formal instruction in this area, even
through high school. Apart from Thinkquest, I would never have an opportunity to
develop these types of skills.
The second thing I really like about this program is the mentoring by older students. The
other two team-members are juniors in high school. Not only have I learned the
technology skills (such as HTML, gif animation, photoshop filters and image manipulations,
graphics skills, and page design), but also invaluable research and writing skills so
necessary for college. Peer review is probably something most students would not see
until grad school.
Michelle walked me through how to do research using major university on-line catalogs and
other on-line resources. I had no idea of the power of the intellectual resources
available on the internet.
Working on the project as a group has been fun, and the friendships have been wonderful.
Whether or not we win is not important. It has been a tremendous growth experience and
an invaluable time of building life skills necessary for future success in my life.
I had no idea that around 1,200 hours go into producing one of these sites. It's quite
a commitment. Every second has been extremely worthwhile.
Michelle - high school junior - regional governor's school for science & technology
I love athletics: ball, soccer, and track. When I'm not involved with that, I am a varsity
cheerleader, cheering for the other teams. Currently, I am working two jobs and am appearing in a Shakespearian play, not
in high school, but in an outside playhouse with adults. In the school drama club we ran
different kinds of plays. We did MacBeth for college students, complete with an interpretational
lecture. Other activities include a medical explorer post (where we work alongside doctors
in the hospital), Key Club as an officer, FCA, French Club as an officer, symphonic band, marching band,
Forensics team, SADD Club, and National Honor Society. I sing and play piano, violin,
Last year I represented my high school in a Hugh O'Brien leadership seminar. In high school
there are opportunities to serve in leadership capacities, but none so fine as the
opportunities provided in Thinkquest's project-based process. This truly reflects and
mirrors the type of experience needed in professional management and industry today, not
just in the technology fields. Helping all members of the team to grow and be
successful is so important to learn, so that when we enter our careers, we will know how
to build strong teams to solve the many challenges of the future. Servant-type
leadership experiences are difficult to find in high school. Our world is a pretty
selfish place. Few mentoring organizations are encouraging collaboration and teamwork
in this kind of setting as Thinkquest does.
One of the most interesting parts of Thinkquest is that you can correspond directly with
these creative student and teacher participants. A lot of critical thinking happens here.
Where else in the world can you find this kind of interaction? In our small rural
world here, we cannot. The experience is priceless.
One has said that the
way to move up is to work oneself out of a job. I told Floyd when I started this project,
that I am not an artist. My graphics are horrible. Floyd has really developed as a
team member. If you don't visit anything else, you've got to see the
little cloud climbing the hill to rain. It's so cute!
It is so much fun working with an integrated team, made of different parts. Floyd has
a flair for art.
I, as captain of this team, have worked myself out of a job
this year, and I look forward to expanding my growth in leadership and team building next
year for the last time as
I find my last year of participation in this wonderful program in my senior year. I have
long desired to work with two students not from my country, and that is what I intend to
do next year. I worked on a church in Costa Rica this summer, and visited Europe with
my French Club. I want to thank my kind and understanding employer, Jenny, for allowing
me the time off. The local community here, too, has been so supportive in all of the
French Club fundraisers, providing the money to go. The experience has greatly enriched
my understanding of cultures, history,
and languages. I have a whole list of new interesting email friends from virtually
all over the place that I met from the trips.
What can I say? I want to work with students from other
cultures and languages as my final, highlighting "experience" before I pack my bags to
truck off to college (2001)!
Like any outside activity, Thinkquest forces a good discipline. To work one of these sites
up takes around 1,200 hours. This kind of discipline will stand us in good stead later
for college, I believe. My parents limit my activities by my grade performance. This
motivates me to allocate the time I need to do the activities I like.
One of the tremendous advantages of this program is the help desk. These people are
really patient. Last year I learned how to program on the server through this program's
help desk. We just can't get this from your schools here, even from the governor's
school I attend. So, winning really is not the important thing. I believe we have gotten
quite an education from this tremendous program. It is wonderful to have an organization
like this that shares its resources around for the sake of helping kids like us receive
that we need to be competitive in college and in life. It has enriched our educational
Floyd (goes by his middle name) - high school junior
I first met Michelle on the school's Academic Challenge Team. Our friendship grew
as we both played on the same soccer team, before she was selected to go to the regional
governor's school, a joint project funded by twelve counties. Michelle was one of four
students selected to go to governor's school for our county. The boys and girls play together at our
high school on the same soccer team.
Last year when our band went on a competitive cruise
to the Bahamas, Michelle approached me about joining her team to handle some of the
graphical pieces. Michelle had been working on my art teacher for the past three year
trying to find students for her Thinkquest teams. Art is always the first program to
be cut in school budget fights. My strength is in computer arts. Our school system is
sadly lacking in technology, especially graphical software. I hope that the visibility
that Thinkquest brings will help us procure more funding for graphical software.
I have placed in graphical arts competitions. I have an identical twin brother who also has
placed in art competitions.
Michelle has taught me how to make pie graph gifs in excel. Also, she exposed me to
Multographx, which has shapes that can be rotated for animations. The program also has
the capability of making 3D lettering, complete with beveling and rotations.
What are our expectations?
We are teenagers. Teenagers are discovering the world. We are the "fans" of
those that we admire, albeit, they may be science pioneers and discoverers, like
of UC Berkeley or mini-fuel-cell creator,
Robert Hockaday, who we all knew was destined for
fame after he
blew up his mother's oven baking electrodes as a teenager in the 1970s.
It is no different
for a Thinkquest contestant, actually. Just as
one would wait in line to have Amy Chow or Michelle Kwan sign an autograph, we
wait with baited breath for Vice-president, Al Gore, to sign his
comments into our guest book.
Whether or not Mr. Gore wins the election, he already has a
legacy: he truly cares
about the issues addressed in this page.
One of the unique benefits of a Thinkquest
forum is that it tests the sincerity and integrity of today's politicians. The
next few months will reveal to all waiting teens the true heart and interests of
people in the
State Department, the Congress, the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge
Labs, NREL, etc. We wait to see their viewpoint. We wait to interact with these
who are on the cutting edge of this new technology. If Mr. Gore can serve muffins
to Judge Judy on a morning news show, we feel like he'll stop for five minutes
on the campaign trail to spend some time with us in this
forum discussion with a comment.
Mr. Gore is a trailblazer. Because he has taken on powerful political
special interest groups as a byproduct of his position stands, we really want to
hear from him. Many of us can vote!
Secondly, as teenagers, we may wait at a book signing. Moreover, we wait for the
author of the many books and papers mentioned in our compilation to respond with
their viewpoints to digitally "sign" our
guest book with their unique
commentary from their point of view. When a Thinkquest competitor
spends so much of his/her life working
with the materials of today's adult trail
blazers, thinkers, and decision-makers, he/she longs to interact with those who have hands on experience
either in an algae/bacteria lab or from various advocacy groups. Not all are in
agreement on these issues. We long to hear from all. Remember, for teenagers,
it is like signing an autograph. It will be treasured for a lifetime. What you
say will impact our career and educational decisions!
Our wonderful coaches!!
here for information about
our coaches. We appreciate them, but had to break the page for bandwidth reasons.
The two pages, being together, were heating up our 14K modems!
An entry in the 2000 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge.
Click on logo to the right for details.