Las Vegas Sun

April 23, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON: HIGHER EDUCATION:

UNLV grad’s Web site offers view of high school life through teens’ eyes

“A community for students, by students,” reads the slogan atop The Nevada High School Report, a Web site launched in July.

In recent posts, local high schoolers have written about the effect of the foreclosure crisis on young people and how to break the habit of procrastination.

Also included are an interview with local singer and songwriter Zach Fountain and a video of a girls volleyball game between Moapa Valley and Virgin Valley high schools.

The Report, at clearconceptions.org/nhsr, was dreamed up by Ben Rowley, a UNLV student working toward a master’s degree in education.

After blogging about Nevada prep sports at benrowley.wordpress.com from August 2007 to March, Rowley wanted to create a place where local students could share their work, everything from art to essays and news stories.

“I thought it would be a good idea to, instead of me doing all the writing, trying to get students to do it and publish their own articles, videos — whatever they wanted to do — and get their work out before an audience,” Rowley said.

“The main idea that’s going on in my head,” he added, “is that students do all this work. And who gets to see it? Their teachers.”

Rowley, who earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNLV this summer, thought reaching a wider audience might motivate students to do better work.

Toni Gasbarrino, an English and journalism teacher at Basic High School, says about a half-dozen of her journalism students have posted articles on Rowley’s Report. She hopes they will turn to the site for inspiration, coming up with ideas for news stories by reading what peers at other area schools are writing.

The Report provides a window into the lives of local youth, telling stories that take on new meaning when told in students’ voices. The intimate connection young people have with the subjects they cover is evident in an October posting by student Courtney Davis.

“Walking through school with friends at lunch time, a boy is wearing the same shirt as yesterday and does not smell so clean,” Davis writes. “A few jokes are told about him and several students laugh. At the end of the school day, most Basic students take the bus and walk home. Once through the door, the backpack hits the floor and the television or computer goes on.

“What many do not know,” Davis continues, is that boy who was ridiculed “has a very different after school routine. There is no home, no television, and no computer.”

•••

A top graduate of UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law has returned to her alma mater to lead an effort to educate immigrants and the legal community about immigration law.

Angela Morrison, who was named Boyd’s outstanding graduate of the Class of 2005, began working as legal director of The Nevada Immigrant Resource Project last month, leaving her job as an attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to return to UNLV.

In her new role, she conducts outreach, making presentations to immigrant communities about issues including their rights and the process of becoming a citizen.

Morrison will also teach continuing legal education classes about immigration law.

“There’s just a need in the community,” Morrison said. “Currently, the estimated population of people who are undocumented is 150,000 in Nevada, and that’s quite a few people who need legal services and legal advice and need to be educated about their rights.”

•••

Hankering for a taste of old Las Vegas, the Rat Pack Sin City version? Today, a group of students will give a tour of a virtual version of the Sands they crafted.

Aniello De Santi, Marco Antognozzi and Marco Locatelli, students from Politecnico di Torino in Italy who have been working on the Sands project at UNLV since September, will show members of the audience the old Sands Copa Room and other areas of the old resort they have recreated in painstaking detail.

They will also present slide shows of black-and-white photographs and other materials from UNLV’s Special Collections that will be on display in the digital Sands.

The event begins at 2 p.m. today in Room 129 of UNLV’s Grant Hall, which is on Maryland Parkway between the alumni center and the fine arts building.

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