Baby Fever: Seniors Take Part in the Baby Project

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Baby Fever: Seniors Take Part in the Baby Project

Seniors Emma Dougherty, Alicja Weglarz, and Danielle Donker with their baby.

Seniors Emma Dougherty, Alicja Weglarz, and Danielle Donker with their baby.

Seniors Emma Dougherty, Alicja Weglarz, and Danielle Donker with their baby.

Seniors Emma Dougherty, Alicja Weglarz, and Danielle Donker with their baby.

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The seniors have a case of baby fever, or for certain individuals, a lack thereof, as they participate in the baby project throughout the second marking period.

In this project, seniors care for a fake baby for one week and complete numerous research assignments to learn about reproductive health, and what it takes to care for a child. For one weekend, the baby is also programmed to cry periodically until its ‘parent’ inserts a certain key into its back.

Before the project truly started, students had to name their babies. The names that were created were especially interesting; senior Miranda Byrne and her partner named their baby “Hardwood Floor.” She said, “Basically, we were just thinking or weird names to give a child.” Senior Erin O’Mara named her child “Maya.” This seemingly normal first name was coupled with “Naise” as a middle name to create something like “Mayonnaise.”

The seniors also had some interesting stories about their projects. Senior Christiana Caprio lost her baby while in school, along with many other students who did the same thing. Senior Jackie Thompson was pulled over with the baby in her car, and a police officer questioned her about it. O’Mara noted that “People in public give you really weird looks!”

Senior Ethan Gross said, “I was really lucky because I dropped my baby off my car one time and there was no tamper light…no abuse [either].”

Senior parents Luke Florio and Vito Caprio had some particularly funny times, such as when Florio put his band tuner into the baby’s back or when they had to bring the baby to their Friday night band gig. The two also lost their baby during school, only to find that health teacher, Eric DiColo, swiped it while they were not paying attention.

However, DiColo did have a reason for this. He said, “When students accuse me of stealing or hiding babies, what I would say is that I’m accusing parents of negligence.” He went on to say, “I just try to get [students] to understand how much of their attention it really takes [to care for a child].”

Seniors also had a lot of complaints about the project, especially about the weekend, when the baby was activated. Senior Evan Lane said, “Sleeping into Monday was actually the worst experience I’ve ever had.” Similarly, when asked what he learned during the project, Gross said, “I learned that babies are annoying.”

Despite the shenanigans and complaints, the goal of the project still stands.

Seniors Jackie Thompson and Sofia Harty with their baby.

DiColo said, “The goal of the baby project is to get students to realize what it takes to be a responsible parent [including] time commitments, financial commitments, health commitments, and social commitments… The goal for the research is two things it’s to teach students how to access proper sources… and to teach them what is actually happening during fetal development.”

Likewise, teacher Stephanie Manco said, “We hope that the kids learn a bit more respect and understanding of what their parents have done for them and also an understanding of how much it costs to raise a child.”

Although they had complaints, most of the seniors also agreed. Caprio said, “For the most part I thought it was beneficial, but not sleeping on Sunday night was something that I wouldn’t want to do again.” Thompson said, “My whole routine ended up getting changed because of the baby but it’s definitely worth it.” Byrne said, “I think it’s a good example of how much it impacts your life and how much time it takes up.”

In the beginning of the unit, students wrote a paper on their goals for the future in reference to their family and how many kids they want. It was interesting to see how students’ perspectives changed after the baby project .

While Caprio struggled with the project overall, he said, “In the end of the day when it’s your real child, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it work… [so] I have the same outlook that I want kids.” Lane agreed saying, “I actually think that having a real kid would be much more enjoyable because… it’s [not] like caring for a thing that cries on a schedule.”

Other students look forward to completing the project. Senior Danielle Donker said, “I’m really excited to start it because I’m looking forward to being a mom.”

Overall, although the senior baby project may seem difficult, students end up enjoying it (to some degree) and learning from it. As DiColo said, “Ultimately students end up remembering this project and although now they say it was stressful, they understand it later in life.”

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