Nichols Intermediate Gifted and Talented showcase their creativity, ingenuity

Mar. 9—Nichols Intermediate Gifted and Talented students showcased their creativity and ingenuity through their yearly student projects this week.

The 112 student presentations set up inside John Alexander Gym covered a wide array of subjects such as animals, computers, history, fashion, mechanics, mythology, science, sewing, sports and video games.

Nichols GT Specialist April Cagle said students are provided a list of possible topics but are allowed to choose their own projects.

Mallory Pouliasis, the district's Gifted and Talented program coordinator, said the student may use the same or similar topics from year to year, but the projects become more extensive as the student grows.

First grade students work on group projects and second graders have partners. In third and fourth grade, the students work on individual projects. By the time students reach fifth and sixth grade, the projects are more involved and detailed.

Fifth graders Alan Mata and Santiago Perez joined forces to create a presentation on the Titanic. Perez initially thought of doing a Lego landscape that included water. Perez suggested adding a boat. Eventually, the duo decided on the Titanic. Mata built a model of the Titanic from Legos and Perez compiled research on the subject.

Mata said the build was a bit difficult because it was so large.

Perez said one of the most interesting things he discovered was there was a theory proposed by some that it wasn't the Titanic that sank, but rather a sister vessel called the Olympic.

Another fifth grader, Evan Cooper, constructed an engine model. He said he chose the project because he likes how engines work. Cooper was able to explain the cycle and work of the pistons.

Peyton Guidry, who is also in fifth grade, has a personal interest in Social Studies. She chose the Middle Colonies of New England as her project. She presented a slideshow on a computer and had also prepared an informational brochure. Some of the information she used was from her social studies class and some she found online.

Kaylee Alvarez's project was on cake decorating. This fifth grader's mother and grandmother enjoy baking, so her interest is a natural one. Alverez has baked birthday cakes for family members. She presented a three-tiered round cake made from foam, with pink paper roses as decoration.

Sixth-grader Valentina Alverez researched the pantheon of Greek gods for her presentation.

Alverez said she was interested in Greek mythology, but after reading the entire Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan her interest grew.

She presented information on the well-known gods such as Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, as well as the perhaps lesser-known ones such as Helios and Selene.

Roman Vasquez, also in sixth grade, created a presentation on the Madrid Club de Futbol. Vasquez, who enjoys playing soccer himself, said he chose this particular club because of the many good players it produced. He had pictures of some of the players, a depiction of the team's logo with what each color represented and a history of the club.

The many students in the Gifted and Talented program are given the opportunity to showcase their projects to the public, not only to display their knowledge, but to build the additional skill of speaking in public.

Cagle said the showcase challenges the students cognitively and the display allows the community to assess the thinking process and creativity of the district's students.

First and second grade Gifted and Talented students will host their showcase May 3.

For information about the Jacksonville Independent School District's Gifted and Talented program, visit and use the Gifted and Talented Services link under the Departments tab.