Throughout the month of December 2018, Matt Lisko, an EHHS senior built a new podium for the school. On January 17, 2019, Matt presented his capstone project, which was built by a computed numerical control (CNC) machine, to an elite panel consisting of Mrs. Erica Forti, Mrs. Susan Harkins, Mrs. Rebecca Florio, and Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. At EHHS, one of the many graduation requirements is to complete a capstone course.
Capstone is coordinated by the librarian, Mrs. Juliet Goraieb, who defines capstone as, “a self driven project, where students for the first time in their educational career are going to decide what they’re going to learn about and what they’re going to do.” Students are given the chance to choose a course that entails a capstone project, whether it is an independent study, (ME)dia, audio, the generic capstone class, newspaper workshop, etc. Depending on which class a student decides to take, the typical time period to plan, coordinate and create your project is around a semester long.
Matt took his capstone project far beyond the expectations of any student or faculty member. His project was a design of the EHHS logo along with the notable yellowjacket, carved by a CNC onto a red oak panel. When using a CNC machine, each point carved into the wood is a separate math equation that has been calculated and programmed into a high powered laptop that is hooked up to the CNC machine. Matt said, “When I started with the program, I had to learn all the tricks and tips, and I started working with the machine more. I had to learn how the machine works, all the different programs, all the aspects of that. Then I had this big idea that finally came to life. It was a challenge, it took months of research, trial and error to ultimately get to where I am now. I am no expert yet however I hope to become better, keep going with the process and learn more along the way.” Not only did Matt put in hours of research, calculations, as well as trial and error, he is now taking an independent study to take his project to the next level.
Matt plans to build a podium using the same machine and design for the school. Matt uses an independent study period to work on his project during the school day and after school hours. He hopes to have it completed in time to use this coming June for the graduation ceremony of the class of 2019. Mr. Iavarone spoke highly of Matt’s work ethic: “I want to see him continue to learn and grow, and tie his expertise into learning something that will ultimately benefit the whole school community as he is building a project that will be on display and used for years to come.” With a great deal of appreciation and assistance from Matt’s peers, as well as instructors, the community is more than positive that he will finish before his personal deadline.
The inspiration to take the project further came from his feeling of appreciation towards the community. Matt wanted to feel as though he could give back to EHHS after his four years of great memories and opportunities. He knows he will always take the memories school gave him. Now, he wants the school to always remember him by having a special piece of work. The principal of EHHS, Mr. DeNuzzo spoke of the impact that Matt’s project has had on EHHS: “It makes us feel really good about what we are doing here, that we can have an idea and not have to go out and purchase a new podium and not have to pay whatever dollar amount. We get to have something that is home grown, made here, something that our students did, we get to promote and highlight their work over how many years it lasts. Every year that we use that podium for awards nights or whatever it might be, we will be able to know that one of our kids made it.” Therefore, Matt Lisko and his capstone project will always have a special meaning for the town of East Haven for many years to come.
Without the assistance and motivation from Mr. Iavarone (teacher of woodshop and automotive), and Mr. Osborne (Directive of Technology), Matt Lisko would not have had the opportunity to flourish, and he thanks them for their immense support.