Just around the corner: Sophomores work on their DAP projects


Every year at ARS, the sophomore class has a two month long project for their pathway classes: Biomedical, Engineering, and Media Technology. This project qualifies students for the Distinguished Diploma Plan (DAP). Scoring an 80 or above on the Cornerstone project is also how Ann Richards’ letterman jackets are earned. Here is what some of the students are doing in their Cornerstone project:


In Media Tech, the sophomores focus on animation.By the end of the year, students create a  create a three minute animation with a partner. In this project, students must make a story, characters, backgrounds, and a musical score. This year, students Johanna Lechuga (10) and Kate Singer (10) are making their story gets the message across that working together is the best way to get things done. Their characters are described as “a humanoid, plant thing that is basically Mother Nature embodied” and a robot. However, this story wasn’t easy to come up with.


“We had like five ideas at first,” Singer said. Mr. Roger Soden, the Media Tech teacher, is very selective with the stories, which causes students to go through many ideas before they find the best one. “We would go up to him thinking our story was really good, and every time he told us it wasn’t and we had to change it every time,”  Lechuga said. “He is really picky.” The animation Cornerstone will be done in early May, and now the class is starting to animate their characters after designing them in Adobe Photoshop.


Engineering in sophomore year is focused on ways to help the community. Groups of students must come up with a product to build that will in some way improve a space around them. One of the groups this year is Marisol Farias (10), Avandia Avila (10), and Alyssa Reynolds (10). Their project is about water conservation, and they will build a greenhouse out of PVC piping in the shape of a geodesic – a design elements that spaces lines the shortest possible distance between points – dome.


“We are going to use garden beds to demonstrate vegetation, and then we will have drip tape which is basically a form of irrigation, it’s like sprinklers,” Farias said “Also, we will have a time sensor to disperse water through [the garden beds] at certain times of the day.”.


For some engineering groups, the hardest part of the project is trying to collect materials that aren’t easy to find in stores or at our school.


“It’s hard to work with the project since we don’t have the proper things to work with,” Farias said. The engineering project will be done between April 19th-20th.


The Biomedical Cornerstone is all about nanotechnology and diseases. Students must pick a disease they are passionate about curing and create a nanodevice to help treat the disease. While they don’t build nanodevices – a tiny device that can interact with cells –  but they do research extensively how they work as well as build a model of one.


“It’s hard because there just isn’t a thousand articles on nanodevices and nanodevice generators,” Fatima Rosales (10) said. Rosales and her partner,  Anne Katula (10), and Fatima Rosales (10), are working to create a nanodevice to treat a part of celiac disease called glycogen, which is a substance deposited in tissue that stores Carbohydrates.


“We chose to target glycogen and when it enters the body instead and the breakdown of glycogen so nothing that damages the immune system happens,” Rosales said.


The groups must design these nanodevices to present to a client or organization that works with the chosen disease. The biomedical pathway cornerstone will include a model of the body, a research paper, and a presentation on what the students learned that will be due April 27.

Student Kate Singer (10) works on her character for her animation
Students Marisol Farias (10), Avandia Avila (10), and Alyssa Reynolds (10) work on their geodesic dome
Student Anne Katula (10) works on her diagram for their nanodevice