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A Great Start!!

posted Aug 11, 2012, 4:14 AM by Michael Reilly
Wow, what a week.  For those who have not worked in a high school, imagine the customer service anticipation:  1400 kids with 6 periods and a lunch gives us 9,800 opportunities in scheduling alone to have glitches, not to mention allergy and health information, life situation changes, and more, and we have to get this right in the first couple of days.  And I think we should be pretty settled on Monday.  The "drinking from a firehose" concept.

CDAT is no different, as we're still pretty young.  Our first year we had 30, then we added 50 and this year added about 80!  In total, CDAT is now about 150 students strong, in grades 9, 10 and 11.  We started in 2010 with 2 teachers, and we're up to 7.  We started with just Language Arts and technology, and now we have taken on the tough subjects of Math and Science.   

And this year has started off pretty well.  First, I'm very impressed with the student's ability to connect Chemistry and Biology with the technologies.  Our 9th graders learned the basics of video editing this week using Adobe Premier Pro, and will be creating a movie trailer with special effects in the next 3 weeks, focused on their science concepts.  Our 10th graders are developing their skills, and have a variety of ideas that they will be presenting with an even greater degree of professionalism.  Our 11th graders are going to be pushed even further into reality, as they will be creating a US History educational toolset that will actually be sold, as a real product, to students and teachers.  Due to intellectual property protection, that's all you're going to get!

So, if you're a parent or student and there have been a few bumps in your schedule, this is normal and we'll figure it out.  Some things we cannot resolve, like conflicts with other classes that only occur once.  In that case, students will have to choose, and that's part of growing up too (everything is a lesson to a teacher).  I can say that we care about the kids, and will work to make their experience at Lanier a great one.

Finally, one really cool thing from the week (there are usually many):  a 10th grader, Jonah Urquhart, fell in love with 3D modeling using Autodesk 3DS Max last year.  Like all CDAT students, he had to make a portfolio, and it's a great one:  http://jonahurquhart.webs.com/  The problem is that Jonah wants to sell his 3D work online, which many people do, but he only has the student version which prohibits professional sales (license violation).  So Jonah did what we dream of CDAT kids doing, and he did it all on his own.  He wrote a very professional email to the Autodesk Corporation, written below:

My name is Jonah Urquhart, a student of Lanier High School. I am in the 10th grade, and have taken a class on 3D modeling for over a year now, and have around 500 hours experience in 3DS Max. I currently own a student copy of 3DS Max, and it has proven to work perfectly fine. The only problem is I would really like to use my 3D modeling talent to make money for college to further my 3D modeling ability and so I can get certified in 3DS Max. What I would like to do is sell models on a website like Turbo Squid, however I know that this violates the terms and conditions of my copy of 3DS Max. If I had the money to buy a full version of 3DS Max, I would. If you could allow me permission to sell models, or give me a full version of 3DS Max, I would be sincerely grateful. I have included in this email some rendered pictures of my work, and I will also link my website below. If I am not contacting the correct person, please redirect me to the appropriate service. Thank you for your time. 


Jonah sent this to a Senior Vice President of Autodesk.  The result:  because of Jonah's talent and proactive communication, he received a FREE copy of the Premium Autodesk Digital Entertainment Suite, with a retail value of almost $7,000!!  Now THIS is great proof of what hard work, determination and communication can do. 

Our dream in CDAT is to use creativity to master subject content, to develop 21st century skills of communication, creativity and collaboration, and to prepare our students for the creative technical jobs of modern society.  I think we're getting there, thanks to all who are taking a chance with us!!
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