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An Engaging Alternative to Conferences


During the high school Showcase, senior José Vicario showed his mother, Jovita Vicario, what he’s been working on at school.

He explained the importance of a T-shirt he painted, in sociology class, which says “Use Your Heart to Change the World,” to spread awareness of domestic abuse. He showed her a video he made in film-making class and brochures for students on opening bank accounts that he made in accounting.

Jessica Vo demonstrates the hair-raising effect of static electricity created by a Van de Graaff generator
Jessica Vo demonstrates the hair-raising effect of static electricity created by a Van de Graaff generator

Mom was eager to learn about what José was up to. “I’m really happy to be able to see what he does in school. I’m more aware of what he’s doing,” Jovita said in Spanish, translated by José.

The showcase, held for a third year, is an alternative to traditional parent-teacher conference.

“We are trying to connect with parents in a different way,” said English Language teacher Susan Faulk.

The high school opened its classroom doors to show parents student projects, from inventions in physics class to poems in English. Several area organizations and businesses, including Kent District Library, after-school program The DOCK and the local Spanish-speaking radio station hosted tables to advertise and promote services.

José said he enjoyed showing his mother around. “It’s really cool and important for them to see what we do in class.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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