Friday, January 25, 2019

Two WHS students share excitement and learning experiences with Capstone project

DJ Hayley with student, Hailey Gilbert
By Lorraine Glowczak

Poet, Mary Oliver, captured one of life’s most important questions very eloquently, “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This is a question we all ask ourselves at one time or another; especially when graduation from high school is upon us and we set out into the great unknown.

Exploration and discovery are ways to help us find our way and the Capstone project may be one step
in the right direction.

Capstone is an innovative program put forth this year at Windham High School. It is a part of a new graduation requirement with a mission to help students not only discover their true calling but to show that whatever their endeavor, they can do it right here in Maine.

In a previous interview with Windham Eagle reporter, Elizabeth Richards, Lanet Hane who is the Director of Community Connections for RSU#14, said the district discovered that the school was missing an opportunity to help students be better prepared for their careers. Instead of simply doing 40 hours of service at random, students have to put together a project, complete with a final presentation, that better connects them to the community. “The Capstone project is intended to take the same amount of time in a more coordinated and intentional way,” Hane said. seniors, Samuel Nemeroff and Hailey Gilbert, are both nearing the end of their Capstone projects and have very intentional plans for exciting career possibilities. They both took time out of
their busy school schedules to share their discoveries and what they have learned thus far.

For Nemeroff, that is owning a PC gaming café. His intention is to create an affordable gaming venue for those who have a passion in creating, maintaining or building games for personal computers. However, his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t end there. “It is my plan that when I open my cafe, I will use renewable energy to support the electricity it takes to run this type of business. I plan to do that through the use of solar energy and natural gases,” he said. “I’m also studying ways to convert non-renewable energy into a sustainable energy alternative.”

To gain knowledge and learn more about renewable energy, Nemeroff interviewed representatives from Central Maine Power (CMP). They have guided him in his study along the way, including the cost effective calculations to alternative electricity.

Nemeroff is also working with Acadia University in Novia Scotia, Canada where he plans to attend after graduation. While there, he will work towards a major in entrepreneurship with a focus on innovation. He also has plans to reach out to Governor Mills, working with her office on energy efficiency in Maine. “I would like to participate in planning public policies on environmental issues,” Nemeroff said. “It is my hope that whatever I choose to do, I will not be a detriment to the environmental issues we face. I want to be a part of the solution.”

Samuel Nemeroff, Lanet Hane, Hailey Gilbert
Although going in a different direction that came with a slight curveball, Gilbert is as focused as her classmate. “Initially, I was looking into the medical profession as a possibility for my Capstone project,” she explained. “I wrote to and reached out to a number of professionals but when I never heard back from any of them, I decided to rethink what I might do. One day, I was listening to my favorite radio station, 104.7, and it dawned on me.”

Gilbert stated that she had always enjoy listening to the radio and decided to see if the radio industry might be in her future. “I sent a message to 104.7 on Facebook to see if I could come into the studio and learn what it takes to be a DJ,” she began. “Within a few hours, I received a message inviting me to join them.”

In the course of a couple of months, Gilbert has learned the ins and outs of studio/radio broadcasting that includes the logistics of using a soundboard, content the industry deems important, the process of interviewing people on live radio, as well as being on top of current trends, music and news. “I have had so much fun learning about this industry,” Gilbert stated. “I have to admit, I’m glad the medical experts didn’t respond to my requests.”

At the advice she has learned from her mentors at 104.7, she will obtain a degree in communications with a focus on networking.

Although both Nermeroof and Gilbert are still coordinating their volunteer efforts as it relates to their individual projects, they both have decided that their presentations will include a slide show presentation of their experiences, what they have learned through their process and how they will apply that to their future goals – to live fully their one wild and precious life.

There will be a Capstone Information Night for parents and their seniors on Tuesday, February 12th at 7 p.m. in the High School auditorium. For more information, contact Hane at

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