A word from Mr. H. - Team Coach:
After having skipped a year due to time constraints, a few of the students began to mention that we should enter the ThinkQuest competition again. I managed to clear some room in my schedule this year to act as coach again.
I decided to ask Alannah Sliwoski, who was one of only two students to get a perfect score on her web site design project the previous year. Alannah was excited about the idea of entering the contest, so I decided to go ahead and start recruiting the other members of the group.
Colleen Knauf was the second member to join. Next came Laura Strojny and Andrea Spena.
After we finished assembling the team, the girls came up with the idea for the web site and were asking me if I thought it could be done. Our first meeting consisted of working out additional ideas and then the real work began...
Each member of the group had an equal share in doing the initial research for the information on the pages for the presidents, vice presidents and first ladies. Then they began to branch off into their own areas. Alannah worked on the overall design of the page, the credits and the White House pages. Colleen worked on the Trivia Game, the Presidential Monuments and the sections dealing with the Constitution. Laura worked on finding the presidential firsts and onlies, while Andrea collected information on the Presidents before George Washington and listed many of the Presidential Links.
Each member took on the job of researching a number of Presidents, Vice Presidents and First LAdies, then had the task of typing in their information. Colleen's natural showmanship made her the perfect choice to play the role of gameshow host.
Another issue, was the fact that St. Margaret Mary School did not have a computer curriculum until a short while ago. In September of 2000, a new $50,000 computer lab was opened with state of the art equipment and an actual program in which students learned web page design and various other computer skills. I also began teaching here that September and was the first person in the school with an actual computer background. This had placed the students at an even greater disadvantage, as we had much more ground to cover.
One of the most difficult aspects of the project turned out to be deciding on a name for the team. Eventually we settled on KS-3, which stands for Knauf, Sliwoski, Strojny and Spena.
Time constraints would keep us from doing a number of interesting extras with the site, but the overall results were pleasing to everyone. We worked on the project two days a week during lunch and recess, spending every Tuesday after school for an hour. We even came in over February Recess. I was amazed at the level of dedication. How many students would actually volunteer to come to school on a vacation?
Putting together a project of this proportion is not an easy task. It takes determination, teamwork and a great deal of patience in order to work with the individual pieces and then watch them begin to come together. And come together they did. After many long weeks, the project was finally assembled and tested in March. Long hours and hard work had paid off at last.
We believe that this site has a great deal of educational value and will be very useful to students. While looking for some of this information, we found that it was not easy to find it all in one place. We hope that we have been able to provide an easy to use site which will make it easier for students and teachers to find information about the Presidents of the United States, the Vice Presidents and the First Ladies. We have also provided interactive puzzles and games in order to facilitate student involvement.
The final project ended up consisting of almost 211 separate web pages, about 400 pictures, 80 sound files and 3 movies. It was quite an undertaking for everyone involved.