PAA Hosts the Public With Education EXPO

July 01, 2008 | Liesl Vistaunet

Every year Portland Adventist Academy opens its doors to the public to share its students' best work with family, friends and community members.

This year's Education EXPO highlighted work from digital media, chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, advanced chemistry and physics students. They displayed projects that offered visitors an interactive visual learning opportunity and demonstrated the students' knowledge and abilities to explain complicated subject matter.

Projects at the annual event are judged for quality, detail and understandability. Winning this year's first place prize was the fourth period anatomy and physiology students. Their nine projects included an interactive electronic game that taught visitors about systems of the body, a computer-animated explanation of a rare sensation disorder, and much more. "The class put an extensive amount of time into their displays," says Terry Verlo, science teacher and department chair. "I was very impressed with their attention to detail and the amount of time they spent making the material understandable."

The EXPO also included a bridge breaking contest. Taylor Lewis, senior, came in first place for his bridge this year. "Taylor's bridge withstood 208 pounds," says Kevin Petersen, PAA teacher. "The parameters for my project are quite specific. The bridges can't weigh more than 50 grams and must be built solely with balsa wood and glue," says Lewis.

Digital media students showed film writing, directing and editing skills during a short EXPO Film Festival. Enthusiastic parents and peers watched their work on a big screen. Students created short films, music videos and commercials to demonstrate what they learned throughout the year.

The PAA Educational EXPO is a part of the school's history. Verlo has been organizing the event for 16 years and, according to him, it was a fixture before he came to PAA. "Up until last year we called it the Science and Tech Fair," says Verlo. Recently, PAA administration and staff decided it was time to showcase all aspects of academics at the event. The name was changed to incorporate whole academics. Future EXPOs will continue to highlight students' outstanding pieces of work and will give community members the chance to learn "hands-on" about PAA's commitment to academic excellence.