The "Castle" at 8th and Lehigh

Natalie Sanchez 

For our first benchmark in Ms. Laufenberg’s history class and Mr. Chase's English class, we were assigned to tell the story of a building's history. This building had to be named after a person, and in some way, we were supposed to intertwine the stories of the people that influenced the name of the school and the history of the building. I chose to research the building at the intersection of 8th and Lehigh. This structure looks a bit like a castle, and I have always been fascinated by it. I was raised right across the street from this place. My personal memories of the building seem very distant, but I am flooded with good memories whenever I stop to remember my childhood on 8th and Lehigh. I remember playing on the side of the school with my cousins and taking walks with my father around the building just to talk about things. I remember the huge walls of the school and how I felt so microscopic when standing juxtaposed to this huge artifact. This is the impression that the building has left on me. This is why I chose to research, what many have referred to as, the "castle" at 8th and Lehigh.

When I first began my research, it was pretty complicated to find any information on the history of the school. I could find pictures of the building and of the people that the school was named after, but I couldn't find any historical dates and facts about the actual history of the structure. I then started speaking with some of the people that I know that have worked or studied at the school and could give me a more personal view of the school. One morning when I arrived to school, I started speaking with Mr. Paul, the security officer at Science Leadership Academy (SLA), about my project. He told me that he used to work at the school and that he knows some people that work with the school district and that know about the school. I got a lot of information from Mr. Paul. I also researched on the Internet, and found a lot of information on the school's history here and there. I went through the "digging-for-research" stage for about two weeks.

After this, I started to put my research into presentation form. I was going to originally make a documentary, but the videos that I took of the school were not compatible with imovie. Desperate to begin my presentation, I decide to make an iweb instead. I built the frame of my iweb by putting all of the research into the site first. I then gave up on all attempts at converting my video files, and decided to wait until I got to school to receive some help from Ms. Hull to convert my files. Luckily, I had art before English the next day, where I asked Ms. Hull for help converting my files. She showed me how to convert them, and then I was able to put the video files into my iweb. After a couple of clicks and waits, my iweb was finished.

My history and English Benchmark was definitely a challenge for me, but the feeling that I received when I finally found the information about the school was unlike any other. I felt so satisfied and excited, as if I had just made a new discovery. I enjoyed the process of making my history project. It definitely took me back to my roots at 8th and Lehigh Ave.

To see my iweb, click here.