As the second semester at RAHS began, sophomores prepared themselves for the beginning of the notorious Environmental Challenge Project (ECP). From upperclassmen and the few teachers involved, 10th graders have deduced that the project entails solving a broad environmental problem at an airport.
For the past three years, CGI and History of Aircraft Design teacher Troy Hoehne has prepared the students on the business side of the projects.
“The actual ECP has not gotten either harder or easier, with each year taking on a different issue at the airport,” said Hoehne. “Running the ECP has had increasing issues with logistics, which has required more planning.”
Despite the massive preparation behind the ECP, the outcome of what the students learn about the real world makes it all the more beneficial.
“It [the ECP] requires patience from everyone concerned, but also lends to the realism of the project,” said Hoehne. “In the ‘real’ world, everything else keeps happening while a new issue is dealt with. Boeing does not stop making the aircraft currently in production to explore new designs.”
The project itself takes massive preparation compared to other projects assigned throughout the year. In addition to Hoehne, teachers Nathan Gwin (Biology and Health), Sarah Fitzpatrick (Language Arts), and Wayne Storer (AP and Sophomore Literature) have been working on this year’s ECP since last year.
“Much of the planning for the project is invisible to the students,” said Hoehne. “Beginning in January, the teachers involved meet with officials from the Port of Seattle to discuss that year’s topic. They go over schedules, arrange for seminars, and schedule a major field trip. Class space needs to be reserved, busses reserved, and considerable communication is made with teachers not involved with the project so they can help kids with any assignments they might miss. Once the project is running, it is much like any other project, but on a larger scale.”
Nathan Gwinn, is taking on the science teacher role in the ECP project. He previously worked with teachers on singular projects at his old school, and is looking forward to applying his skills at Raisbeck.
“It’s exciting to collaborate with a few teachers and get to have one project with them where we have one goal [and] we’re working on the same thing,” said Gwinn. “I like that; that’s what I’ve been doing for a few years so it’s exciting to go back to that.”
In addition to working with teachers, the prospect of leading the sophomores is also intriguing to Gwinn, as he is an avid supporter of good and unique education.
“I’m excited because I think there [are] some possibilities to do some things that should be really fun and really interesting for [sophomores],” said Gwinn. “[They]’’ll get to actually spend some time at the airport instead of just working in wetlands or something like that.”
Gwinn’s sophomore biology students are accustomed to his swift and efficient teaching style, so the ECP should be somewhat familiar in that respect.
“I’ve always pushed through my content pretty quickly so that we have time to apply it as a class,” said Gwinn.