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December 29. 2013 8:47PM

Scholar of the Month: Hooksett student links past, present

HOOKSETT — By employing hands-on experiences, Manchester High School West is living up to the learning model championed by pioneering 19th-century educator and New Hampshire native Francis Wayland Parker, Karina Ithier wrote in her Francis Wayland Parker Scholar of the Month essay.

Ithier, a West High sophomore from Hooksett, said she was surprised at her selection.

"I was just really happy," she said. "I didn't really expect it. It kind of motivates me to do better in school and to really focus on education more."

Parker, who was born in Bedford, revolutionized education by emphasizing integrated learning over rote memorization during his years as an educator in Illinois and Massachusetts. In her essay, Ithier wrote that Parker would appreciate how West uses such techniques as "peer teaching" and fun activities to inspire learning.

"Students are challenged to examine the outside world rather than being limited to a textbook," she wrote.

She said her favorite example is a murder case presented to students in a law and justice class. She said she acted in the skit, which dramatizes the murder of a teacher and asks students to solve the case by analyzing fingerprints, blood patterns and other forensic evidence, while involving students in journalism classes who provide updates on the school's television channel and a weekly newsletter.

Ithier said that, even though she wasn't a class member, she was able to learn about forensic analysis just by participating as an actor.

"I think I might take the class because of that experience," she said.

Ithier, who is ranked second in her class and participates in several clubs, including the newspaper club and a writer's syndicate, said she is interested in pursuing studies in creative writing in college.

The Francis Wayland Parker Scholar program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, in cooperation with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Lifetouch Studios and the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England.

Other nominees for November were: Grayson Daly, Lebanon High School; Hannah Karp, Plymouth Regional High School; Joshua Curran, ConVal Regional High School; Alex Lajeunesse, Hopkinton High School and Crystina Friese from Manchester Memorial High School.

tbuckland@unionleader.com


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