As part of their Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs), two Spaulding High School seniors were able to pursue their passions outside of the school’s walls while earning high school credit. George Farrow III toured the country as an audio engineer with a professional production company, and Riley Cosgrove worked with Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley on a number of civic issues, according to Seacoast Online:
Farrow traveled the country with touring stage troupe PerSeverance Productions in December. Farrow served as the live audio engineer and assisted with lighting and video production during the group’s 28-show, 29-day tour of an original production of “A Christmas Carol.”
In addition to being a full-time student, Farrow already works 40 to 70 hours a week as an audio engineer. The 17 year old also recently became the youngest teacher in New Hampshire history when he taught an intensive two-week live audio production class at Somersworth’s career technology center. He’s received national press for the high-tech, charity-focused haunted house he operated for eight years at his home, and he’s also known throughout the area for his professional-level theater and audio productions.
Despite that lengthy experience in the field, Farrow said Friday that putting his knowledge and skills to the test during a chaotic and challenging tour was invaluable.
“It helped me figure out this is what I want to do with my life,” said Farrow, who also officially unveiled to school administrators Friday a new national wireless microphone rental business he’ll launch with a colleague in the near future. “There are some things you can’t do in a classroom.”
Farrow’s out-of-state ELO was the first of its kind and was structured unlike any existing ELO programs Spaulding could find while administrators researched and approved the project, according to school officials.
While Cosgrove’s program didn’t make history like Farrow’s, officials came away Friday equally impressed by Cosgrove, who said he’s focused on making history of his own.
Cosgrove interned with McCarley and assisted with a variety of civic efforts, including ones that assisted the growing homeless population in the region. Cosgrove said his internship cemented his desire to devote his career to serving Rochester.
The senior plans to use the knowledge gained of municipal government during his ELO to prepare him for degrees in law and political science, in addition to his planned pursuit of a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives while he’s in college.
Cosgrove said he also plans to eventually run for local political office, starting with a seat on the School Board and working his way to the mayor’s office, because he believes “the more time we give” to help a community, the more a community will benefit. He said that point was illustrated to him numerous times throughout his internship which McCarley, which he initially started over the summer without the intention of seeking school credit or an ELO.
“I’m hoping to stay here in Rochester and help out as much as I can,” said Cosgrove. “It’s really important to me to help.”
Superintendent Mike Hopkins praised the ELO program for its ability to teach students lifelong skills that go well beyond core competencies, in addition to allowing them to participate in meaningful ways in the community.
Dean Graziano, the district’s ELO coordinator, shook his head in awe numerous times throughout the showcase and made a variety of comments that helped to illustrate the impressive nature of Farrow and Cosgrove’s work.
“Leveraging the power of community partnerships (through ELOs) ensure both business partners and students alike have access to getting the right experiences, in the right place, at the right time and by the right advisors, which is a win/win for our communities,” Graziano said of the benefit of the program.