NCS students check public speaking off college to-do list

NEWCOMB- In preparation for his Thesis Research Investigative Project (TRIP) Taylor Goodspeed, a junior at Newcomb Central School (NCS), visited the concrete jungle of New York City to rub elbows with Sharif El-Gamal, CEO at SoHo Properties. Goodspeed's thesis stated that "ground zero mosque" should be built at its proposed site.

TRIP, although it has seen several name changes, has been part of the 7-12 curriculum at NCS for over a decade. Its goal is to encourage students to investigate real life situations that exist in the world they live in, according to NCS superintendent Skip Hults.

"The benefits are threefold," he said. "They are more aware of the important issues and investigate them more than they would in a class situation, they are better prepared for college, and they are confident enough to stand in front of their peers and take a position."

Hults said he enjoys the transition he witnesses in each student. They begin as a timid seventh grader and then stand up in suit and tie as a senior and breeze through a presentation, he said.

This year, NCS students were presented with a NYC theme and developed a thesis surrounding issues that ranged from public funding for the arts to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"It is important for Newcomb students to realize that there is no upstate and downstate, but that they are part of the same state as New York," said TRIP advisor and spanish teacher Martha Swan.

Goodspeed chose the most controversial topic he could think of, he said.

During the research, Goodspeed made an effort to contact El-Gamal regarding the project and was finally welcomed to his office a couple weeks before he was scheduled to give his presentation.

"He was not intimidating at all," said Goodspeed. "I felt very welcome."

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