Kennett HS student leads marketing efforts for Mt. Washington Observatory as part of Extended Learning Opportunity

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Sullivan “Sully” Gaudreault, a student at Kennett High School in North Conway, found his passion for cinematography with the help of an Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO), as reported in the Conway Daily Sun. Through an internship with the Mount Washington Observatory, he has designed marketing posters, photographed events, and created the video promotion for the organization’s largest fundraiser, Seek the Peek–and earned academic credit for it.

Almost 7,000 New Hampshire students have participated in an ELO this year. ELO Coordinators (or other educators) work with community partners, businesses, and mentors to design learning experiences outside the classroom for students that capture their interests and passions. Students have worked in medical facilities as LNAs, in engineering and business organizations, at veterinary offices, and more.

When Sully found his ELO, he was looking at colleges for photography. He interned with the Obs last summer, which helped him discover his love for cinematography. He worked with the Obs team to develop the video and appreciated being a part of the team, not just a student. From the Conway Daily Sun:

“That was super different for me than high school. In high school, you’re kind of given a video project or an essay. We met as a group — Krissy, Steph (membership and database coordinator) and Brian (Fitzgerald, Obs’ director of education) — and this was kind of like the first ‘oh’ moment I had in this internship.”

He explained that the moment came when he realized it wasn’t a teacher telling students what to do, it was peers collaborating.

“I was talking with Krissy. I was talking with Steph and Brian, but they weren’t just looking at me as a student … they were looking at me as an artist and also kind of like their equal. I was just another employee, I was an intern, and I had a say in what I was going to do — that was super cool and definitely a really great moment for me.”

Check out Sully’s video, “Seek the Peek–Make it a Great Adventure,” at tinyurl.com/yxn28ho7.

Superintendent Kevin Richard told the Conway Daily Sun that about 25 students are enrolled in ELOs at Kennett High School, and the program is growing.

“We are totally on board with ‘anytime, anyplace learning,’ but one of the things that we have done is really make sure there is a level of accountability,” Richard said.

In order to be counted for credit, ELOs have to meet the same competencies as a course at the school. There is an assessment in place, usually a capstone presentation, where students must demonstrate what they have learned. Coordinators act as gatekeepers to ensure the student’s needs and objectives are being met.

Read for more information about ELOs around New Hampshire: