CVU School Board News

Good news:

Students Bailey Bouchard and Olivia Hern from Shelburne performed in the Very Merry Theatre production of “The Producers”in a cast that included high school students from the area.

CVU students had the opportunity to view the documentary “Wretches and Jabberers,” as well as participate in a Q&A with the stars, all of whom are Vermont residents.

Eleven Chill Upperclassmen Boosting Student Success (CUBSS)– Will Austin, Keri Berghahn, Matthew Cockayne, Nevin DiParlo, Liam Donnelly, Zack Evans, Mackenzie Hakey, Jessica Holly, Jasmine Nakhleh, Julia Sokolowski, and Amanda Whitbeck went to their Alma Mater, Shelburne Community School, earlier this month to help celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with grades K-5. They handed out stickers and each read a portion of “One Fish, Two Fish.”

CVU’s production of the Miracle Worker opened in March to rave reviews and the cast and crew did a wonderful job.

Topic of the Month: Graduation Challenge

It’s that time of year when Champlain Valley Union High School seniors start wrapping up their capstone project, Grad Challenge, and begin polishing the project’s paper and presentation. CVU started its senior project, the Graduation Challenge, in 1995, as a pilot program. Since then, every CVU grad has participated in this annual program, which earns each student a half credit and is a requirement for graduation. The unique part of this challenge? Each student designs and implements an individualized project that involves new learning.

For Grad Challenge, each student works with a member of the community who is an “expert” in the field chosen, giving the student a window into the real-world nature of the field. This community member acts as a mentor to the student, providing guidance, expertise, and time, an invaluable part of the project.

MaryAnne Gatos, Community Learning Coordinator at CVU, facilitates the projects and coordinates the presentation day, where each student presents their project in an 8 to 12 minute speech to a panel of reviewers (comprised of volunteer CVU faculty and staff and community members), along with parents, students, and other members of the community. Gatos said, “[the projects] give students an opportunity for learning what they want to learn and how they want to learn it while teaching them to find resources and manage their time.” Each project is wholly a student’s own; even similar topics look very different through the lens of the student doing the learning.

Another key to this project? Grad Challenge must be new learning for the student. The idea is simply that it should be a topic that the student has an interest in learning about—and it can be almost anything, as long as it’s approved by the student’s advisor. Projects have ranged from learning photography to building an Adirondack guide boat to learning the art of blacksmithing to playing the bagpipes to hiking the Long Trail. This year expect projects such as Traveling to Uganda, Business in Taiwan, Culinary Arts, Stand-up Comedy, and learning American Sign Language. If a student has a passion, chances are a Grad Challenge can be designed around it. Additionally, the students learn valuable real-world skills: navigating a relationship with a mentor, monitoring their own hours, meeting deadlines, and figuring out how to go about learning something unfamiliar.

Community members are an important component of this significant senior experience. We invite you to volunteer to be a community consultant for a student if you’re an expert in a field; volunteer to be on a review panel during presentation day; or simply attend presentation day to show your support of this learning activity. Enhance the public presentation experience for the students and enjoy the range and depth of projects.

And while the Grad Challenge project is a long-standing tradition at CVU, it is right in line with the state’s vision for educational transformation involving multiple pathways for student learning. Grad Challenge is, in many ways, the original multiple pathway, allowing students the opportunity to individually forge their own educational trail.

For more information on this year’s Grad Challenge and how to get involved, contact MaryAnne Gatos at Presentation day is scheduled for May 24. You can also visit the CVU homepage,, to sign up to be a panelist.


April 8: CVU College Fair, 11:30 am-1:30 pm in the main gym

ACCESS spring classes are starting soon! Check out the website for more info:

May 8-11: All State Music Festival at MMU

May 10 and 11: Shakespeare Cabaret, CVU Theatre

May 24: Grad Challenge Presentation Day

May 29: Concert, CVU Theatre, Band, Men’s and Women’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, 7:30 pm

Shelburne CVU Board Representatives:

Susan Grasso 985-0604

Susan Holson 985-2452

Joan Lenes 985-8515

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>