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Barker seniors take projects to heart

Barker High School seniors were asked to sum up their years of learning in one senior project.

For Sara Budde, the work hit close to home.

Budde, 18, of Appleton, organized a 5K Run and Fun Run earlier this month in honor of her 20-year-old brother, Nicholas, who was born with a heart condition.

The run, which started at the Barker Fire Hall, attracted 117 people, who raised more than $4,000 and donated it to the Dreams From a Heart Camp, a camp on Chautauqua Lake for children with heart conditions.

Her brother, who has been a counselor at the camp for the last five years, was born with one ventricle and had to undergo surgeries to correct the condition. At the time of his surgeries, Sara Budde was about 4 years old.

"I didn't really remember it too much. It was very scary for my parents," she said. "I guess I really didn't understand the extent of if until I saw my parents drop him off at the heart camp."

The senior projects will be rated by a panel of four judges in a couple of weeks. Students are required to prepare PowerPoint presentations on how they organized their projects.

The work is designed to serve as a bridge between a student's past and the kind of commitment that will be needed to launch into a successful future.

For her project, Budde had to advertise, mark the race course and order medals. The most challenging part was rounding up sponsors. She succeeded in getting more than 20.

"It was such a hard time of year to get sponsors because of the holiday," she said. "People are so busy.

Another requirement for the senior project is to put in at least 15 hours of work, a mark Budde easily eclipsed.
"I must have put in 40 or 50 hours," Budde said, crediting her closeness with her family as her motivation.

Valerie Richardson, 18, of Gasport, also put in extra hours. She arranged an art show that features work she completed throughout her high school years, both in and outside of school.
Richardson's works, including a self-portrait, are on display through Thursday in Barker Free Library, 8706 Main St. She held an opening show Jan. 20 that attracted 50 people.

"It was quite a bit of effort. I think it went quite well, and the teachers were happy with it," said Ramona Richardson, Valerie's mother. "She did put a lot of time into it, and she did get very stressed out. [Barker students] are setting the bar pretty high for senior projects."

Richardson's art consists of charcoal drawings, pen and ink, watercolor paintings and acrylic paintings. She also completed an animation piece that was done with Adobe Photoshop.
In addition to matting and framing her artwork, she created a brochure with information about the mediums used in the art. She also advertised for the art show with posters and invitations.

She has created art for friends, for a small fee, and hopes to make portraits for others in the future.

"I had a couple of offers on some of my paintings at the show," she said.

Her mother has noticed that Valerie gets plenty of constructive criticism from her teachers.
"If they didn't think it was a good piece, they would tell her," Ramona Richardson said, "so it's a learning experience."

She said her daughter has always been artistic. "She'd take all the Disney movies and draw all the pictures on the Disney movie covers," she said.

Valerie said she enjoys art but hopes to become a physician's assistant. She would rather create art on her own terms, and not on deadline, than make it a career, she said.
One of the requirements of the senior project is that the students have to show how the project affects the community.

Valerie Richardson said her work shows the community what goes on in the high school.

"And," said her mother, "it brings people into the library."

e-mail: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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