On April 21, 2010, the seventh graders hosted the 2nd Annual Genetics Expo. Prior to the formal presentations at the Exposition, the students were engaged in the study of heredity and genetics. Through the course of their studies, they encountered some of the genetic disorders that exist and affect many people. Working in teams, students embarked upon an in depth research project where they gathered information about a particular genetic disorder or disease. Some of the conditions researched included; Neurofibromatosis, Diabetes, Down Syndrome, Follicular Lymphoma, and Sickle Cell Anemia. Once all of the information was obtained, students organized Power Point presentations to communicate their findings with our school community. This year, we were honored to have several members of the community share their knowledge with us. Mrs. Judy Bellina from the ARC of Essex in Newark, joined us and addressed the community about Down Syndrome and further educated us about some of the services that are provided to individuals affected by this disorder. In addition, students had the opportunity to listen to the sister of a fellow classmate, as she spoke about living with diabetes. Another student, Abdul Ibn-Malik was joined by his mother during his presentation, and the duo shared information about a condition that was close to heart for both of them.
The Expo provided a wonderful platform for students to share their work with other students, parents, teachers, and other members of our community. It was an experience that enabled the students to develop their critical thinking skills, oral presentation skills, and most importantly, it was an opportunity for students to uphold the core value of empathy in a new light. Many presentations included video documentaries of individuals afflicted with the disorders and it was remarkable to observe the respect and admiration our students felt for them. The students would like to thank all of their teachers and parents for their support, as well as Mrs. Thomas for allowing them to arrive to school professionally dressed and giving them the opportunity to showcase their findings. It was an incredible learning opportunity and an experience that will
remain with them for a long time.