Extraordinary Exhibition

Marist Academy fifth graders present their research and hard work at "Exhibition," the culmination of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. 

In the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, the exhibition is the culminating event of a primary student's education, according to Kristen Blum, a PYP educator currently teaching grade 5 at International School Dhaka in Bangladesh, who wrote about her experiences with IB-PYP a few years ago. 

"The ideal internationally minded student has progressed through a collaborative, critical-thinking journey of inquiry throughout their primary years," she said. "They have explored local and global issues throughout their education and have learned conceptually with concerned, passionate PYP educators. These students are making connections and digging deeper."

Students who are "digging deeper" also include Marist Academy's PYP fifth graders, who on Friday presented to those who gathered at the lower school their explorations of various topics, including robots, special needs, and student lives and stress.

This year’s exhibition was taught under the transdisciplinary theme: “Who We Are.” Throughout the course of seven weeks, Marist Academy fifth-grade students worked in eight groups based on topic interest. The groups determined their own central idea, descriptors, lines of inquiry, key concepts, research methods, and action plans. Some of the groups went on field trips to gather research while others interviewed experts in their topic’s field. Research from all eight groups were presented Friday evening.

Paul Frank is the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program coordinator and math specialist in Marist Academy's lower school. He said a lot goes into the annual exhibition.

"The exhibition was made possible by the many contributions of staff members, parents, community participants, and of course, our amazing fifth grade students," he said. "We would like to congratulate the fifth graders on a job well done. They are an incredible group of students who have made us very proud with their hard work, willingness to collaborate, and passion for making a difference."  

Andrew Chang, a Marist fifth grader, also summed up the evening and the exhibition's purpose quite well when he welcomed those in attendance on Friday.

"For tonight's exhibition, we basically collaborated as a group to come up with an action plan to bring awareness of our topics to a larger audience," he said. "And the more people who know about our concerns, the better chance we have of making that difference."

The topics presented at the May 10 exhibition are as follows:

Topic: Student Lives and Stress
Members: Andrew Chang, Troy Whidden and Meredith Wilson 
Mentors: Profe Wyza and Ms. Winiarski

Topic: Special Needs
Members: Brooke Beaudoin, Lucas DiGrande, Aubrey Gillis and Ruby Ignasiak 
Mentor: Profe Tapia and Mrs. Zimmerman

Topic: Robots
Members: Nicklaus Creek, Austin Reese, Dakota Rae Robinson and Augustin Villajuan 
Mentors: Mr. Hopkins and Mrs. Stuk

Topic: Heathy Living
Members: Madison McFall, Caroline Powell and Samuel Stowe 
Mentors: Mrs. Dugan and Mr. Battani

Topic: Dementia and Alzheimers
Members: Giulia Bockrath, Sophia Housey, Lucas Marchese, Julia Pakkala
Mentor: Mr. Madej and Mrs. Olson

Topic: Single Sport Athletes
Members: Aaden Gulli, Ashton Gust, Gabriella Keoleian, Emma Stowe
Mentors: Mr. Patterson and Ms. Bicknell

Topic: Social Anxiety
Members: Mia Carles, Lucas Kattula, Jack Leuchtmann
Mentors: Mrs. Kriesel and Mrs. Hall

Topic: Diabetes
Members: Sami Khouri, Ella Kissman, Audrey Simon, Blake Whidden
Mentors: Mrs. Younan and Mrs. Fruchey

A video compilation of this year's PYP Exhibition is available here.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Prep enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's Marist Academy enrolls students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. NDPMA is an International Baccalaureate "World School" and is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers. It is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org