In the Panther Tank

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Required courses of any school’s curriculum, while vital, often instill frustration and boredom within their students. Countless resource implementations are applied to avoid these threats to one’s educational, but the ultimate key to an interesting learning environment is its leader.

At Elder, the Social Studies department is notorious for its colorful lineup. Yet, regardless of their schedule, students are sure to witness a great deal of sarcasm, enthusiasm, and most importantly knowledge from their teachers.

Whether students receive their notes with an archaeological dose of Shawn Spencer’s artifact collection or copious amounts of Seinfeld inspired one-liners and Kramer quotes from Brian Flaherty, sophomore year provides much laughter and an impressive understanding of World Cultures.

The always entertaining Eisele and Bengel are worthy successors to their sophomore counterparts, providing unrelenting sarcasm and impeccable comprehension of their class material.

Appropriately anchoring the lineup is senior Economics and Government teacher, Mike Gergen.

Known for his extravagantly witty lectures and affinity for sports references; Mr. Gergen keeps his students on their toes with tales of his cannon on the ball field, which are usually told with a tennis or golf ball in hand.

None the less, his liveliness and excitement about his two semester courses set students up for the various off-speed pitches he periodically throws in the form of quizzes, tests, and essays.

In late February, his second-semester Economics classes caught a curveball when assigned their first group project of the year.

The objective of this assignment was to put together a business proposal in attempt to convince a wealthy individual (Mr. Gergen) to invest in their idea.

“It causes them to apply their creativity to the business world” Gergen explained.

He claimed to have brought this specific assignment back from a few years ago.

“I’ve had some dogs before who didn’t do any preparation and just goofed off” he said before elaborating on how surprised he has been with this year’s seniors.

The grading scale of this project was one asset Gergen used to create competition between the groups as scores went in descending order according to who impressed him the most. Therefore presentation, viability, and creativity were vital to achieving the top score.

With over fifteen groups presenting in total, there were plenty of ideas for Gergen to choose from.

“The ones that were really out there were the ones who it came down to” he said.

Therefore, the three winners were anything but conventional.

In his second period class, the investment went to a group who introduced the Spider lawnmower which would automatically cut its owner’s grass.

“I thought it was really out of the box” Gergen laughed.

The product was a very efficient tool for consumers.

“It’s another way for Americans to be lazy” commented senior co-founder Logan Steiner.

The main competition this group faced came from the Athletic Safety Corporation who had developed a helmet to maximize protection for professional athletes such as football and hockey players.

Gergen was especially impressed with its presentation as it contained an extensive explanation of their process for developing the helmet.

Two bells later, the Nati Express caught the investor’s interest.

The Nati Express was a party bus with on board entertainment, concessions, and refreshments. It aimed to exploit the culture of college students and young adults as it would have a liquor license and periodically travel through college campuses.

What really made this concept unique, though, was the fact that it would be a public service. Meaning it would stop along its route to pick up and drop off passengers. Mr. Gergen thought it was a very viable proposal considering all of the planning and specific figures the group’s PowerPoint contained.

“We were just talking about the street car so that gave us the idea,” says Nati Express co-founder Lee Lutz.

Opposing Lutz’ crew was the online service Concert Stream.

This would allow those who are incapable of attending a certain concert to still spectate from their laptops. Aside from the extensive research on equipment and profit margins the founders presented; they wore dress shirts and ties on every presentation day to further convey their commitment and professionalism regarding the assignment.

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