Graduating seniors create final projects |

Graduating seniors create final projects

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe High School senior Elly Roemer debuts the Tahoe sunrise mural she painted at the Rideout Community Center for her senior project.

What started out as a piece of masking tape on the wall of a West Shore community center is now a sweeping mural of a Lake Tahoe sunset.

Elly Roemer, 17, painted the mural at the Rideout Community Center, in part, to fulfill the requirements for a graduating senior at North Tahoe High School.

But, according to the center’s staff, she has now left a legacy as she travels off to college.

“I told her she is leaving a part of herself here in Tahoe,” said Rhonda Kreidler, the community center’s program coordinator.

The artist said she feels giving back to a newly established community center that provides low-cost recreation while painting on the largest scale she has ever attempted was a feel-good effort.

“If I was going to paint a mural, I thought I should do something where people could appreciate it,” Roemer said. “And the fact that it was a community center was just perfect.”

Every one of the 84 seniors at North Tahoe High School must complete the senior project assignment to graduate, according to Stephanie Welsh, assistant principal.

“It is the culminating project,” Welsh said. “It shows the skills that students are required to master by the time they graduate ” specifically there is an emphasis on researching and writing ” but also presentation.”

The students are free to pick a subject of their choice, Welsh said, but they must become experts before completing the project, interviewing people in the field, conducting traditional research and writing a minimum of 16 pages on the subject.

Applying her love of fast cars to the high school graduation requirement, North Tahoe senior Haley Burmen, 17, will present the first-ever drag racer to be judged as a senior project to onlookers at the high school this morning, according to parent Rick Armas.

Burmer recently placed fourth in her class with the souped-up 1995 LT-1 Camaro at Sacramento’s Wednesday night drag races, Armas said, and will compete at Nevada’s Top Gun Raceway in Fallon this weekend.

The presentation can be an outdoor showcase of a beefy 410-horsepower dragster or a more traditional powerpoint sideshow of how to create a mural, but it must be a formal offering by the students as they show off months of research.

Some start their projects as early as January, Welsh said. The time is needed to develop contacts and perhaps establish a local mentorship, she said.

Since race car drivers and artists get hungry, it will come as good news to them that North Tahoe senior Anna Sitkoff enlisted pro-chef husband and wife team Doug and Dawn Baehr to create a healthful cook book for college-aged adults. The Baehrs own and operate the Uncommon Kitchen bistro in Tahoe City. The husband is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and the wife is a trained graphic artist and advertiser, a stellar team to help the soon to be nutrition major create her first cookbook called “Eating Wisdom.”

Most recipes in her cook book are from the Baehr’s repertoire, but Sitkoff has tweaked them to be geared toward college students that might not be able to afford the trip to an exotic grocery or have access to special cooking tools, Dawn Baehr said. Original Sitkoff recipes like Chai oatmeal are included.

Sitkoff not only completed her own cookbook, with plans to print 100 copies for sale locally, but helped Baehr reset her own cookbook she wrote a few years previous; a collection of recipes gleaned from the Baehr’s old breakfast and lunch restaurant.

“When you see something come to pass like this it is really satisfying,” Dawn Baehr said.

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