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What Do The Iroquis and Lacrosse Have In Common? A Student From Waterford Could Tell You.

Shawn O'Loughlin of Waterford was part of a student-faculty team at Pomfret School that worked together on a project entitled "From the Iroquois to the Lax Bros: The History and Evolution of the Game of Lacrosse."

In a "new and different way of learning," Shawn O'Loughlin of Waterford recently was part of a student-faculty team that worked together on a project entitled "From the Iroquois to the Lax Bros: The History and Evolution of the Game of Lacrosse."

Shawn, a member of the class of at Pomfret School in Connecticut, was recently part of an all-school academic experiment called Project: Pomfret. From December 3 - 18 the students and faculty at Pomfret were at school, but not, in the conventional sense, in school. In place of class time and homework, they were instead out tackling one of twenty-nine innovative projects--among them designing and building a real footbridge, conducting statistical and laboratory analyses on the economic and nutritional value of organic produce, and trying to make sense of the Middle East, the environment, hip-hop music, the practicality of dams; and actually producing and using biodiesel fuel.

Shawn was in the group of students and faculty who collaborated on "From the Iroquois to the Lax Bros: The History and Evolution of the Game of Lacrosse."

Project: Pomfret represented an experimental retooling of the 120-year-old school's academic matrix, harvested from the year of self-examination that resulted in a new strategic plan. Project: Pomfret was based on the principles of project-based learning (students engage to the fullest when they can experience and solve real-world problems). Everyone involved got to break away from the established academic routine and focus instead on their one particular topic. The goal: to make the learning viable and real. After two days of final Project: Pomfret presentations, Head of School Tim Richards was impressed. "I found [this] the two best days I have spent in my life as an educator," he said. "I believe we all saw a new and different way of learning."

Founded in 1894 and coeducational since 1968, Pomfret School is an independent college preparatory boarding and day school for approximately 360 students in grades 9 through 12 and postgraduates, and the more than 40 faculty members involved in their lives. Set on 500 acres in the celebrated Last Green Valley of Northeastern Connecticut, Pomfret offers eight academic disciplines, 19 AP and 16 Honors courses, over 100 elective courses; 25 sports options, and numerous opportunities to participate in community outreach and service programs. At Pomfret we endeavor to teach, guide, and above all, inspire.

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