From a book to bread, Merrimack Valley High School students show off their senior projects

Merrimack Valley High School senior Clayton Ross shows superintendent Randy Wormald how the arcade Ross built for his senior project works.

Merrimack Valley High School senior Clayton Ross shows superintendent Randy Wormald how the arcade Ross built for his senior project works. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Merrimack Valley High School student Brice Winter volunteered at a dog shelter for his senior project.

Merrimack Valley High School student Brice Winter volunteered at a dog shelter for his senior project. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Merrimack Valley High School student Elizabath Barrington ran a middle-school cheer clinic for her senior project.

Merrimack Valley High School student Elizabath Barrington ran a middle-school cheer clinic for her senior project. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Merrimack Valley High School student Linkoln Cornell re-built his dirt bike for his senior project.

Merrimack Valley High School student Linkoln Cornell re-built his dirt bike for his senior project. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Merrimack Valley High School senior Clayton Ross demonstrates how to play the arcade he built for his senior project.

Merrimack Valley High School senior Clayton Ross demonstrates how to play the arcade he built for his senior project. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Merrimack Valley High School student Juliana Palhof made a professional-quality quilt for her senior project.

Merrimack Valley High School student Juliana Palhof made a professional-quality quilt for her senior project. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

For her senior project, Merrimack Valley High School student Lena Pelleteri wrote a 40-page book that delved in her expeirence with grief and loss in the wake of her mother’s death.

For her senior project, Merrimack Valley High School student Lena Pelleteri wrote a 40-page book that delved in her expeirence with grief and loss in the wake of her mother’s death. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

Merrimack Valley High School seniors show off their projects on Thursday, April 18.

Merrimack Valley High School seniors show off their projects on Thursday, April 18. JEREMY MARGOLIS—Monitor staff

By JEREMY MARGOLIS

Monitor staff

Published: 04-19-2024 2:56 PM

In January, Merrimack Valley High School senior Lena Pelleteri’s mother passed away following a multi-year battle with cancer.

For her senior project, Pelleteri put her “pain on paper”, as she put it, writing a 40-page book that delved into her experience with grief and loss.

“This is the first time that I actually put myself out there like that,” Pelleteri said of the process, which she described as challenging but cathartic.

Pelleteri’s book was one of more than 150 projects on display at MVHS on Thursday.

The projects ranged from furniture – think Brady Turgeon’s wood-crafted camp chairs – to food – think Sara Doody’s Japanese milk bread. For some – such as Elizabeth Barrington, who led a middle school cheerleading clinic and is interested in coaching – the MVHS tradition and graduation requirement was an opportunity to pursue a professional ambition, while for others – such as Linkoln Cornell, who rebuilt his dirt bike – it was an opportunity to expand upon a hobby.

Students had free reign to pursue whatever interested them. Here are three notable projects that were on display Thursday night:

Clayton Ross

If you asked a MVHS student what the most impressive senior project was this year, there’s a good chance they would have pointed you to the full-size arcade game Clayton Ross built.

The Wentworth Institute of Technology-bound senior created the game from the ground up, using wood supplied by his grandfather and computer parts from various places.

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The setup has over 2,000 games loaded on it – Mortal Combat is Ross’s favorite.

“I’ve just always had an interest in building my own things and have always wanted to do something like this,” said Ross, who hopes to become a mechanical engineer.

The project was impressive enough to draw kudos from superintendent Randy Wormald, who said it reminded him of his childhood.

Brice Winter

Most senior projects required about 30 hours to complete. Winter devoted more than four times that to volunteering at the Darbster dog shelter in Chichester.

“I did 130 hours of this in order to graduate,” said Winter, who was one credit short of the graduation requirement and accrued enough community service time through his senior project to make up for the missing credit.

Winter, a Loudon resident and the owner of two Labradors, fit his volunteering in between school and work as a mechanic.

Juliana Palhof

Combining at least nine different types of fabric, Juliana Palhof worked with her mother’s friend in the quilting business to design a professional-quality quilt of her own.

Palhof will attend Thomas Jefferson University, where she will play soccer and follow the pre-med track.