Student Projects in the New Year

Benicia High School is rife with opportunity—it is clear that the school’s administrators see the potential in their students and want to give them tools for success. With hands-on projects and partnerships with the community, Benicia’s students are making waves.

The Arsenal, a beloved part of Benicia’s history, was the latest subject of Mr. Andreas Kaiser’s Engineering and Architecture students.

In a competition against their peers, the students worked with a non-profit organization, 1,000 Friends of the Arsenal, to build a plan for the best, community-minded design plan. The winning team’s project showed 2D models of a new Visitor Center and play park.

Plans for the Visitor Center included a cafe, museum, gift shop, and balcony overlooking the strait. This Visitor Center would be a central point of the arsenal with paths to a new playground, the garden, and the clocktower. Locals and tourists alike would feel comfortable and welcome in the Arsenal at this central space for honoring Old Benicia’s history. 

This project was finished at the end of 2023. In the new year, Kaiser’s students are finishing up their laser-cut holiday ornaments and fidget spinners. 

The students in Kaiser’s Robotics class are building robots to enter into the 1st Solano Robo Rave Robotics competition that will be held during the Steam Discovery Festival on April 20th at Solano Community College. His advanced Engineering students are working on 3D printed toy trains or full-motion flight simulators. Each student is receiving experience that will help them in college and their careers later on. 

Not just Kaiser’s students are benefitting from such realistic, skill-building projects. Anouk Dorrance’s Medical Careers and Medical Sciences classes have had the opportunity to learn about medical practices in other countries and participate in “true patient care” simulations, respectively. 

BHS’s medical clubs, also overseen by Dorrance, execute community-focused projects.

While the Red Cross holds blood drives, the medical clubs have a variety of volunteering opportunities with The Lodge at Glen Cove, an elderly community. During their required hours of community service, each student is able to interact with a member of the community and exercise compassion while they earn experience with real patients. 

The Auto and Construction students, under Steve Shields, will begin working on an old Volkswagen car, the end goal being a completely electric vehicle. These students may learn how to research and source parts, but also the practical skills required to implement them. 

At the end of 2023 the Careers in Education students wrote and illustrated children’s books based on childhood development for their final exam. The beginning of 2024 brings a deep dive into lesson planning. The plans that the students create may make it to a classroom at one of Benicia’s elementary schools. 

The new year also means new shows on BHS’s stage.

The Dance students will return from winter break to work hard on teaching and learning new dances. After months of learning new styles and working as a team, the Dance students will share their efforts with the community in the spring show. At the same time, the Theater Department will be holding auditions and rehearsals for the spring musical.