2024 Winter Intensives
2024 launched gloriously at Casco Bay thanks to Winter Intensives. Students and staff were quickly immersed in fun and deep learning in topics ranging from forensics to sketch comedy, from restorative justice to swimming. Nearly 50 CBHS students spent the week primarily in internships, about 1/2 in PPS classrooms and 1/2 in other career areas of interest, ranging from carpentry to dentistry. Our staff virtually doubled in size over the week thanks to all of the alumni (12 this year!), parents and local experts who contribute to the teachimg and learning. This time around, we also partnered deeply with the Maine Academy of Modern Music (MAMM) and several new bands were launched! We also benefited from space and wisdom from the Telling Room and Evo. And one final thank you to the CBHS Parent Advisory Group for making it all possible. About 90% of funding for intensives comes from PAG (and monies raised by the Annual Appeal). Thanks for making this singular and transformational week of learning possible twice each year. Students and staff are already looking forward to spring intensives, recently moved to April 1st-5th. Check out this newsletter to learn more!
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Also - Alumna Maya Denkmire, class of ‘21, came back to share passages from her novella published with the Telling Room her senior year. She took time to answer superb questions from her audience of 30 enthusiastic Casco students.
The MAMM Music winter intensive was very fun and inspirational. During the intensive, students traveled to MAMM’s Old Port studio. Students were split into bands of 4-5 students each, with every group being assigned an instructor who works at MAMM. In these groups, students of all skill levels were given opportunities to choose what songs they would like to learn and perform. The instructors helped the students break down the songs and find skill appropriate parts for each band member. Many students in the intensive had never played an instrument before, and this intensive gave them the opportunity to find out what it is like to learn and perform music while collaborating with others. On the last day, all of the bands had a performance at MAMM, and three of the bands got to perform at CBHS’s school meeting. They rocked the house!!
Check out the link to The Compass, CBHS's student newspaper!
In Forensic Science, we learned about blood sampling, decomposition, and the study of
death. This included learning about organic chemistry and the properties of chemical compounds to help us develop our own cases. We did a case in which different suspects were collected and one was guilty of the crime committed. Evidence is a big factor in criminal cases, if you don't have enough evidence to convict someone it can lead to years of innocent people being imprisoned unlawfully. Science is also a big part of forensics. Blood samples, fingerprints are just some things that science can help with in convicting people. You can use science as your piece of evidence, for example you can trace hair samples or blood samples usually to the suspects to prove whether they are innocent or guilty. Requesting evidence can help decide if someone committed a crime or not and if they should be sentenced. Each Forensic student had to select a suspect they thought committed the crime and back it up with evidence such as blood samples, hair samples, foot print images and other factors. We also met with a dog named Cheeto who is a worker dog that helps police be able to detect certain chemicals. We learned that dogs have an incredible sense of smell and can detect the smallest amount of chemicals which could help with life or death situations.
The intensive Casco Teaches is about learning about how to pursue teaching. In Casco Teaches we first learned about what makes an effective lesson and a good educator. Second, we wrote our own philosophy about the key to great teaching. After that we learned what makes an effective lesson plan then we created our own. Following that we observed classrooms around the district and helped whenever we were needed. For example, during break if we weren’t needed in the classroom we would help in other classes such as gym class. Another example is helping students send their letters to senators and legislators. You should join Casco Teaches because it's an opportunity to learn about teaching and what comes with being a teacher.
By Emma Bernazzani '27, Nimo Sheikh '27, and Willam Munguia Oliva '27
The 2024 session of Fiber Arts was quilting and sewing focused which differs from past years. On the first day of intensives, we learned different uses of sewing equipment and reviewed our past craft knowledge. We ended the first day with some creative free time to begin our projects. Day two involved more hands-on work and lessons; we started with a visit from Travis Clough, a fellow quilt maker who teaches at Common Threads in Westbrook. Travis gave a lesson on how to create half square triangles, which we turned into a large class quilt. The third day of intensives was more of a creative workshop that gave students an opportunity to let themselves design whatever they would like from a range of wallets to jackets! On day four we had a visitor, Rana O'Connor, who is very experienced and has been making quilts for the majority of her life. From this lesson we gained a general comprehension of fabric applique. Applique is almost like making fabric “stickers,” which can then be collaged and fused to make art. Lastly on day five we ended the fiber arts intensive with an informational documentary about the AIDS quilt. Overall the Fiber Arts intensive was a creative outlet for students to have free range of their imagination and put it on fabric!
By Isabella Rand
In the Technical Theater Intensive we explored how to make a ground plan, and working drawings. To help us understand how those are used in professional Theaters we were able to go to The Children's Theater of Maine, where we were able to see how they are made digitally. We also were able to see them on paper done by professionals at Portland Stage. We were able to explore multiple stages to see how they put together shows and performances. After seeing inspiration we were able to create our own 1/4th scaled model of a show that we could create, or remake a set for one that already exists. Our main material we used for the models was cardboard, but some used cotton, yarn, fabric, and even printed things for their sets.
By Madison Keezer
Check out a brief video by Eleanor Lo about the Chemistry of Candy Intensive and their scrumptious creations here.
During the Ghosts, Monsters and Myths winter intensive we learned about what makes a good scary story, and wrote spooky stories set in Maine. You can read the stories by clicking the icons and links on this map.
We started off learning about ghostly folklore in Portland and visiting local cemeteries. To encapsulate what we learned for the day, we did writing exercises like a two sentence horror story and a cemetery-based scene description.
We began our second day with a haunted walking tour around downtown portland. We were told stories from around the 1800s of legends that took place in and around the port.
On Thursday, we were at the Telling Room to help us with writing ideas. Once we had finished that, we finally started writing our stories with help from the people at the Telling Room. We wrapped up by watching the movie Room 1408.
On Friday, we devoted most of our time to writing and workshopping our stories and sharing what he had so far. We ended with a creepy game of scary jeopardy.
On our final day we had our work peer reviewed, edited our stories, and added our story to the Google Map with links for everyone to read.
By Ethan Tyson
Throughout this past week of intensive, students in the rock climbing intensive pushed themselves and grew as climbers. This was a group of mixed experiences; some people had been climbing for years while others had never touched a wall before, but either way everyone was able to challenge themselves, and accomplish new goals.
On the first day of the intensives we went to Evo rock gym, we started off with a tour of the gym and then took a class to learn how to belay. Throughout the day students started off not knowing how to belay, and then at the end of the day everyone was confidently taking turns belaying each other. On the second day we stretched to help relax our muscles from the day before that returned to Evo. We top roped and bouldered, and Connor, one of the instructors, gave us a lesson on techniques used to climb. On the third day we took a rest day, stretched again in the morning and then took a yoga class led by Hale, an instructor from Sea Change Yoga. They led us through a yoga class designed to release tightness in our muscles from climbing, and relax our mind and bodies. We then watched Free Solo, a documentary about Alex Honnold who climbed El Capitan without ropes, an incredible feat. On Friday we started off our day with a stretch circle and then drove to Salt Pump climbing gym in Scarborough. Salt Pump offered a new set of challenges, with a harder grading system, and everyone pushed themselves harder to reach new goals. The last day of intensives, we began our day with a stretch circle once again, and worked on our final reflection of the week overall, we then returned to Evo one last time before the all school assembly.
By Fiona Nichols
During the Career Exploration Intensive, 20 CBHS students had the opportunity to have a
20 hour internship in a field of interest. We spent the first day of the intensive learning more about the world of work, workplace expectations and what it would mean to be a good intern. Local business leader, Wendy Blackwell Moore, helped our aspiring interns work through some scenarios about what might happen onsite. Then the students were off to placements that ranged from a dental office to a video production company, from a immigrant law office to an auto-detailing shop, Senior Stella Halstead even traveled to Switzerland for a stint with a particle physicist. After 3 or 4 days onsite, students returned with new–found knowledge and confidence about what kind of work might be right for their futures. After reflecting on lessons learned from their internships, students considered their next moves - from a meeting with Ms. Doyle to making a resume´ - that might bring them closer to their desired future. You can learn more about what each student was up to - and what they got out of it - by scanning this slideshow.
After a long week of intensives, everyone has been quite tired from all that they had to do, but some are more tired than others. This is a recap of the “Learn how to swim” intensive of Casco Bay High School!
Starting off in the mornings, we settled into the classroom with a positive and fun attitude. We started out with shoutouts in the morning, where each person wrote down a person that they wanted to acknowledge due to their hard work or leadership the day before! Students were then rewarded with a prize. Over the entire week we had 3 standards, learning how to swim and swimming techniques at the Boys And Girls Club pool, the making of a children’s book related to the ocean or water/swimming with sharing to third graders, and setting personal goals. We also did intense workouts, called “Drylands.” Every day after lunch, we would take a bus down to the Boys And Girls Club and make our way to the pool for an entire hour to practice. We did swimming techniques for beginners like blowing bubbles, strokes and gliding, along with complicated ones like treading water and going in the deep end. There was a heavy growth from then to now, and the children’s book were a great success, we made our way to Talbot Elementary school and got into small groups to share our stories, and lastly, the Drylands exercise we did before lunch was a full body workout of stretches, lastly… after we swam, we made a closing circle in the water to share a strength we had that day in the pool. The learn how to swim intensive has been effective and fun for all that attended. It is truly a wonderful experience and chance to learn.
By Theo Gordon
Check out more photos here!
For our intensive Statistics Of Gaming we analyzed chance and choice in board games. We started the intensive off with simple games like Trouble, Pass the Pigs, and Chutes and Ladders. We later on progressed complicated games like Monopoly and Risk. We did an analysis of the likelihood of rolling each value on a pair of dice. Halfway through our day we stopped playing games and did strategies analysis based on probabilities. CBHS alumni Peter Ashley helped us with probability calculations. He is a junior studying computer science at Husson College. For our project, we picked a game and wrote a mathematical analysis of one specific game scenario. Our goals were to learn probability, practice thinking strategically, and learn math lessons that we could carry into our lives.
By Noemia Nzolameso
During the philosophy intensive, we aimed to learn about existential and absurdist philosophies and the different ways people interpreted and responded to these philosophies through different periods. Over the course of the week, we explored these ideas by looking at artistic responses to absurdity in the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) and in the classroom. We also read excerpts from texts covering these topics to enhance our understanding of the ideas presented by these philosophies. At the end of the week, we created our own responses to these philosophies in the form of either a play, a piece of visual art, or an essay.
By Calil Sommer
Dive deeper and check out photos here!
The sketch comedy intensive started off with a lesson from guest teacher Bob LeBlanc from Balderdash Academy who taught us all about the ins and outs of comedy writing. We learned about the anatomy of a joke, where good sketch ideas come from, and tips for writing our first sketches. We brainstormed lots of different sketch ideas and experienced the fun and frustration of the writers' room. Wednesday was all about writing, with lots of improv games thrown in to keep the creativity going. On Thursday we had the opportunity to work with Professor Sara Valentine from USM who taught a performance workshop on the stage of Russell Hall on the Gorham Campus. We also got a tour of the Theatre Department at USM. By Friday, everyone was finishing up their sketch scripts and beginning to block out and rehearse our sketches. That afternoon we had a Zoom call with Liva Pierce, a sketch comedy writer and performer based in NYC, and they gave us the top five things to know about sketch comedy and answered some questions. Monday morning was all about dress rehearsals and finalizing our comedy gold! We performed the five sketches after lunch, then selected the top two that would be performed at the showcase in front of the school. Performing for such a responsive audience was a great way to end a ridiculously fun and challenging week.
This week, the Restorative Justice intensive learned about alternatives to traditional discipline, including restorative and transformative justice, spending lots of time in circles. Day one, we watched the documentary, The 13th and learned about the inequalities in the justice system. In groups, we read about Restorative Justice and how it can help address racism and harm in the justice system.
Day two, we had our whole day downtown at Youth Led Justice, led by Tyler Redskye. We spent the day talking about transformative justice and restorative justice, we watched several videos, and worked in groups on learning about talking and learning circles. Day three, we then started finding our topics for our final projects and researching.
Day four, we visited Greater Schools Partnership downtown and we learned about nonviolent communication, the feelings wheel, and needs with José and Gabi. We worked on our final projects then ended the day with a gratitude circle. On the last day we ended with a circle and worked on our final projects, presenting to our classmates.
Mr. Shibles and Ms. Crowley took students on a trip up to Moosehead Lake for three days in Northern Maine’s beautiful nature. Why they would choose to manage 15 students 24/7 for three days straight is a mystery to me but it was freaking awesome, and we are so grateful. While this intensive is usually meant to be centered around a snowshoeing adventure during one of the days (hence its extremely literal name), climate change decided to be a real brat and there tragically wasn't enough snow to actually snowshoe. However, we didn't let that stop us and managed to shoe in the snow a whole lot. We went for three hikes through the beautiful trails near where we were staying. During our second day there, we got lucky enough to experience a full snowstorm and Olivia managed to pelt each and every one of us with a snowball. Other activities included morning polar dips in the lake, a gruesome game of mafia led by Mr. Shibles, and a read aloud from the bad romance novel left in the cabin (thanks Deven). The Birches Resort housed us in their beautiful wood cabins that served as the perfect place for us to rest, cook, and hangout. I think I speak for all 15 of us when I say it was so special to have three days to disconnect from our phones and enjoy our peers’ company! I also think I speak for all of us when I say the canned nacho cheese was practically toxic waste. Here's to another magical “snowshoeing” trip!
By Jo Ellis
Hello everyone, I’m here to share all about the best intensive offered here: Winter Adventures! Each day included an adventure activity! We also kicked off our mornings with
stretching and balance exercises, and then engaged in journaling in the afternoons––which helped us reflect on what we were experiencing.
• On Tuesday, we went to Falmouth Family Ice Arena for some ice skating. Despite numerous falls (some intentional), we had a blast skating together!
• Wednesday led us on a walk (mostly hiking) through Wolfe’s Neck State Park. The stunning scenery was breathtaking, especially the view of the water – it was probably the best one!
• Thursday brought us to Salt Pump for Indoor Rock Climbing. Some tried bouldering, while others used the belay system, but all of us used our muscles!
• On Friday, we went skiing at Mount Abrams, traveling to and from on a nice coach bus (shoutout to our driver, Brad!). At Mt. Abrams, some took their private lessons, while others went straight into the action. We all had fun and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
• On our final day, Monday, following the Sunday storm that left us with lots of snow, we went sledding at Riverside Golf Course. Everyone was thrilled about sledding in so much snow.
In conclusion, though many of us were sore from the daily activities, we all had fun, with each person discovering a new meaning of adventure and why we should seek it.
By Aimen Ismail