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Three UMFK students present their project at the 2003 Maine Honors Weekend in Portland

April 11, 2003


University of Maine at Fort Kent students were invited to present their honors project at the 2003 Maine Honors Weekend. The theme for this year's conference was Peace and War.

January Martin, a sophomore from Madawaska in the behavioral science program at UMFK presented the project at the USM Woodbury Campus Center at the University of Southern Maine on April 12, in Portland.

Martin worked on the project, entitled "All You Need is Love", with Michael Lavertu, a junior from Madawaska in the business management program, and Shelly Cyr, a sophomore from Fort Kent in the elementary education program. The project was completed as part of UMFK's 2002 Fall honors seminar entitled The Beatles: Defining a Generation through Perspectives on War and Peace.

"I think it's a great opportunity to present this project which we enjoyed working on, and have continued to work on after the honors seminar was completed," said Martin.

Martin presented her joint project along with eight other students from the University of Maine System campuses. Her presentation was given along with four other students as part of the Contemporary Issues of Peace and War panel. A second panel entitled Historical Issues of Peace and War was being conducted concurrently in the campus center amphitheater.

Afternoon plenary speakers were Dr. Oshita Oshita and Katharine Lualdi. Lualdi's has taught part time in the honors program at USM since Spring 2002. Prior to this, she taught part time in the history department. She has also taught part time at Colby College.

Lualdi earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, a master of arts in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991, and a bachelor of arts in history and French from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988. Her presentation was War and Tolerance: An Oxymoron? The Case of Modern France. The speakers were followed by a question and answer session.

Scott Brickman, associate professor of music, led the UMFK honors seminar through a travel back in time as they studied the political and economical impact post-war times had on the Beatles, as well as the successes and failures the popular musical group encountered as they made history time and time again.

As elementary education and behavioral science majors, the students sought out to collaborate on a semester project combining the interests of the honors seminar, the aspects of war and peace, and to also incorporate their majors into a story board that imitates the work of the late pacifist author, Dr. Seuss.

As envisioned, they created two fictitious characters, Stewart and little Astrid, who will meet the Beatles and attempt to save the world from war. Written as a rhyme, this story was created to appeal to both a younger and a more mature audience at all levels of understanding peace, war, and the Beatles.

The story board is written from a child's point of view focusing on their concerns and questions on war and peace. The symbolism used by the writers of the story allures a more mature and knowledgeable audience familiar with the history and music of the Beatles.

From all aspects, the story has been transformed creatively through fantasy to form a recognizable understanding of a pedagogical and sociological time line of events that conveys multiple messages of empowerment to the audience.

The students, with the use of Power Point software, will present the story board enhanced with visual and audio technology that will further add to the creativity and in-depth analysis of their understanding of the themes listed.

"Whether through the eyes of a child or the eyes of a college student, the idealisms behind the saying, "all you need is love" exists in this piece of work," said Brickman. "I am really proud of the level of camaraderie among these students and the work ethic they have showed. It is true inspiration to me as a teacher to have students such as these."