On Tuesday, May 3, the ExCEL students at IHM celebrated their accomplishments with an Expo at which they presented individual or group projects on a variety of topics. Parents, grandparents, special guests, and students and teachers from other classes attended the event. ExCEL, an acronym for "Extra Challenges to Enrich Learning," is the gifted resource program in which students leave their regularly scheduled classes once per week to attend gifted programming that challenges them in critical and creative thinking through cross-curricular projects.
Each student or group studied a topic of their choice in depth and produced a display, prepared talking points, and made an interactive piece to demonstrate their learning. Themes included honey bees, polarization, chemical reactions, e-waste, the enigma of choice, obsessive compulsive disorder, theories of the end of the world, sports energy drinks, commercials, hunger, celiac disease, game design & coding, and more.
In addition to their projects, the eighth grade ExCEL students organized and planned the entire event. Individuals and teams of students created the invitation, made the program, arranged refreshments, and produced a slideshow of information about themselves to share with the audience since they are graduating in a few weeks. Each eighth grade student also gave a short speech about what ExCEL has meant to them over their years at IHM and how they have grown as a result of the program. The Expo was an important milestone in their IHM careers and was a very successful event for not only the graduating class, but also for all the students in the program as a showcase of their achievements this year.