Today we had our Autism Awareness presentations given by LDTC Dr. Pat Black and one of our students. We talked about different developmental and physical disorders, like Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD and how they can affect students socially and academically. In recent years, Autism Speaks and other foundations have been founded to assist them. Mr. Kevin Taylor from TryCAN also came and spoke about volunteer opportunities with his organization and others. He discussed how teens can be mentors and important role models in the special needs community.
We ventured into NYC to visit the Vikings Exhibition and Discovery-Times Square. We watched a short film and looked at artifacts in the largest display of Vikings items in North America. First, though, we took a picture on a Viking ship as we approached new lands! We saw actual clothing and jewelry worn by the Vikings and learned how the women played an important role in their communities. Matt, our ancient history and classics teacher, gave us the rune alphabet, and we looked at stones with rune messages on them. Sadly, we couldn’t translate them all. Students enjoyed the interactive exhibit where they could touch swords, wear Viking headgear, and listen to Viking tales.
We had the pleasure of visiting Columbia University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and meeting with several renowned researchers in the field. Drs. Racaniello, Despommier, Kornfeld, and Moscona gave a tour and presentations. We saw refrigerated viruses kept in sub-zero temperatures and roundworms preserved in jars. Students were able to ask a multitude of questions, and we learned that the lab had recently received the Zika virus for research. Dr. Racaniello showed us his office/studio where he records and hosts his weekly podcasts with some of his colleagues: TWiV, TWiM, and TWiP. We also observed his “wall of polio” where trays of defunct polio virus reside. Viruses are amazing, and although they’re not living organisms, they ensure their continuity by finding human hosts. Many thanks to Dr. Racaniello and his team for sharing their lab and their time with us. We loved the fun magnets as keepsakes and his “Virus” license plate!