IGNITE Summer 2019 - Page 18

“The students’ presentation abilities rival the presentations I remember from college seniors.” Facing the Future “On the day of the presentations, I still hold my breath because I never know how it’s going to go,” Sr. Alice admits. That apprehension is shared by the students: in addition to their seven-minute presentations, the nine groups are judged for their posture, enunciation, and ability to build rapport. The judges can commiserate as well. The 60-person panel is composed of past participants, guest educators, and professional engineers who’ve undergone similar assessments in their own careers. The students’ goal is to place in the top three. Funding an idea you’ve created in your head become a real, for supplies and prizes — which range from $75 to tangible product is a mind-blowing experience,” $150 — is donated by local businesses. Similarly, the she says. project mentors and judges are all largely members of the school community. For Sr. Alice, the highlight is knowing her students are that much better prepared for life after high school, Despite the high stakes and high pressure, judges regardless of their performance or future professions. say they’re regularly impressed by the groups’ Many participants follow up to let her know that the performance. “The students’ presentation abilities rival project was their first exposure to public speaking. the presentations I remember from college seniors,” says Steven M. Arbiz, a civil engineer manager who’s “One year, a student said he wished he could start all been both a judge and mentor over the past decade. over again,” Sr. Alice recalls. “The engineer told him, that’s the point. In the next stage of your life, you will Senior Kylie Snellbaker also enjoyed the experience. start all over again — and you’ll be ten steps ahead of Her group recently presented an “all-in-one movie fun” your peers.” container for drinks, snacks and popcorn. “To see 18