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"A Year in Review" Hosted by Carrboro High's EC Students

On May 1, a meeting room at the Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL), was transformed into a warm and vibrantly colorful showcase, presented by Exceptional Children Teacher, Melissa Barry, of Carrboro High School (CHS) and her students. On tables around the room were artwork and laminated texts, exhibiting the activities from Barry’s class throughout the year: blue, turquoise and green collages representing tsunamis and floods, paintings of sharks, photos from the school's Edible Book Contest and poems and pictures celebrating Norooz, the Persian New Year.

collages from CHS EC showcase “This year, we embarked on a theme of 'Stories: Past and Present.' With support from the Public School Foundation, we were able to purchase sets of Scholastic's ‘I Survived’ books for our classroom," said Barry. "These books are works of historical fiction that provided a rich tapestry, allowing us to explore history, science, geography, music, cooking and art.  The stories were engaging and allowed opportunities to network with a variety of district and community resources to bring stories to life.”

Several of Barry’s eight students, along with their families, were on hand to welcome the many guests who stopped by to view the late afternoon showcase. The students' delight in hosting such an enthusiastic audience was evident for the two hours of the event. As slides from the school year flashed on a large screen, students pointed and exclaimed over the images and the many fun activities the photos reflected.

"Mrs. Barry's class year of review is a testament to how hard the students worked and how much time Mrs. Barry and her teacher's assistant put into making sure that our students are learning a variety of topics that are enriching,' said Christopher Norwood, EC Transition Facilitator at CHS.

CHS EC collages The “I Survived” books document famous disasters, natural and man-made, from the eruption of Pompeii to the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Despite the terrifying and often grim stories represented in the books, the artwork was bright and engaging. One of the particular crowd pleasers was the display of the students' tsunami collages, which revealed a second collage under the pages of blue crepe paper, capturing students’ favorite things, with the caption: “We made collages of things we like, and then we flooded them… You can lift the flood to see the things that we like.”

“This was the first time we've used CHPL for an event site,” said Barry. “I selected the site over the summer because our year long theme was linked to books - I thought it was fitting.  The CHPL was incredibly accommodating for us, and even reserved the room for the entire day for us, allowing our students to help set up the display in the morning and return in the evening for the event.”