In the lead-up to spring break, one date looms large on the Class IV calendar: the due date for Western Civ projects, long a component of the freshman curriculum. Students research, produce, and orally defend a model or reproduction of an artifact, building, or historical scene that is linked to Western Civilization. Parameters dictate that the student must make his project with his own hands (no parent help, no kits). Making use of technologies offered in the IDEA Lab is allowed, “but you may not plug in a prefabricated design for something in a 3-D printer and present this as your project.” In addition to being graded on the oral defense, each student is graded on his accuracy in representing the original, his workmanship, and the project’s degree of difficulty.
Since Class IV’s service project focuses on our neighboring residents of Deutsches Altenheim, Class IV Master Jim Ryan arranges for his freshmen to host a reception in their honor in the Great Hall. The boys stand by their projects to explain them to the guests and answer questions. Señor Ryan also has his Spanish students (mostly freshmen) present their projects to their classmates entirely in Spanish.
This year, the unofficial “Best in Show” designations were awarded to Bobby Luca for his model of an Irish harp, and to Conor Downey's “La Belle Verriere”—a copy of the famous stained glass window from the Cathedral at Chartres, France, which features Mary and the Christ Child.