HHS Civic Action Project Showcase Draws Large Gathering

Thayla Soares Domiciano and Iasmym Souza present their CAP | by Rayssa Araujo
Thayla Soares Domiciano and Iasmym Souza present their CAP | by Rayssa Araujo

After months of planning, 8th graders as well as a small group of upperclassmen presented their CAP projects to the Hudson Community in the cafeteria Tuesday. 

Sophia Sullivan and Piper Foster present their project on Land Conservation | by Rayssa Araujo

The Civic Action Project (CAP) is a state-mandated initiative that high school students complete to graduate.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the project is designed to promote a student’s ability to analyze complex community issues, consider differing points of view, make logical arguments and support claims using valid evidence, and engage in civil discourse. 

Every year, 8th graders at Hudson High prepare a CAP project to present to the rest of the class and the Hudson community. This year, the event was held on May 28, 2024, at 5:30 p.m. 

Civics teachers, Jeffrey Kelley, Kiel Maurath, and Maureen Deroy, began planning for this undertaking this fall to build many suggested topics students can choose from to develop their action projects in small groups.

“We’ve built into our scheduling now for groups to reach out to specific community partners,” said Maurath.

Alessandra Burnett and Christian Andrade present about supporting the success of English Language Learners in high schools | by Rayssa Araujo

Civics teachers started the project earlier this year so that students could have more opportunities to reach out to stakeholders who can assist and develop more ideas for the projects. This year, students presented their hard work after school hours and to a larger crowd. Teachers built in time so students could have the best research to present.

“Last year we felt students were a little rushed at the end, especially in reaching out to people and getting responses back,” states 8th-grade civics teacher Jeffery Kelley.

The civics teachers rolled out the projects on Monday, April 29th, utilizing ARC time to schedule presentation info sessions. Many students had concerns about vaping and drug abuse, and the nurses and school psychologists spoke to students as part of the research portion of the assignment. School psychologist Jamie Gravelle spoke to the students, with current information about the vaping problems in the Hudson community. Students were able to take notes and ask questions to help with their projects.

Students worked hard when creating their projects and were prepared to present to many parents, the School Committee, Senator James Eldridge, Representative Kate Hogan’s Chief of Staff Griffin Tighe, Superintendent Dr. Reagan, Principal Dr. Medieros, the League of Women Voters, and other community individuals who provided feedback on the projects, and in some cases set up further conversations with students to make these projects a reality. 

“Hard work pays off,” said 8th-grade students Maya Brito and Vita Lagattolla.

Millicent Olynciw-Olkuski discusses linguistic bias in the classroom | by Rayssa Araujo

Once you walked into the cafeteria, many tables were set up with about two projects per table and many students making conversations about their projects. The cafeteria was standing room only, with guests mingling shoulder to shoulder among the projects.

Two projects were selected for the state Civic Action Fair Showcase in Worcester: Katie Quinn, Carl Hart, and Michael Monico for their project on emotional support dogs for the high school as well as Shaelyn Madden and Alyssa Donaruma’s project on the pet food drive and caring for unhoused people’s pets.

Upperclassmen also presented their CAP projects to fulfill their graduation requirement. Though the majority of the students were 8th graders, they still stood out as strong examples of civic action to all the guests in attendance.

Dr. Reagan shared in his Hudson Highlights that the “Civic Action Project Showcase celebrated Hudson High student’s efforts to make positive change in their community.”

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Rayssa Araujo
Rayssa Araujo, Staff Writer
Freshman Rayssa Araujo is a first-year journalist with The Big Red. She took the course to work on interview skills and photography. She enjoys learning more about the events in the school. Her go-to Starbucks order is a Strawberry Acai Refresher, with no inclusions.

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