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Wakefield Teen Works as Student Innovator at Pomfret School

Hannah Thoms of Wakefield recently participated in an innovative academic experiment at the Pomfret School in Connecticut.

Published Jan. 2, 2014 at 5:30 a.m., Updated with additional photo Jan. 3 at 12:51 p.m.

In a "new and different way of learning," Wakefield resident Hannah Thoms was recently part of a student-faculty team that worked together on a project entitled "Art of Journaling."

Hannah, a senior at Pomfret School in Connecticut, was recently part of an all-school academic experiment called Project: Pomfret. From Dec. 3-18 the students and faculty at Pomfret were at school, but not, in the conventional sense, in school. In place of class time and homework, they were instead out tackling one of 29 innovative projects--among them designing and building a real footbridge, conducting statistical and laboratory analyses on the economic and nutritional value of organic produce, and trying to make sense of the Middle East, the environment, hip-hop music, the practicality of dams; and actually producing and using biodiesel fuel.

Hannah was in the group of students and faculty who collaborated on "Art of Journaling."

Project: Pomfret represented an experimental retooling of the 120-year-old school's academic matrix, harvested from the year of self-examination that resulted in a new strategic plan. It was based on the principles of project-based learning (students engage to the fullest when they can experience and solve real-world problems). 

Everyone involved got to break away from the established academic routine and focus instead on their one particular topic. The goal: to make the learning viable and real. After two days of final Project: Pomfret presentations, Head of School Tim Richards was impressed. "I found [this] the two best days I have spent in my life as an educator," he said. "I believe we all saw a new and different way of learning."

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