The first few weeks of school at Van Alstyne Independent School District have been exciting on all campuses.

At Van Alstyne Middle School, students and teachers were able to dive right into their learning, completing a Project Based Learning assignment on The Lost Colony. This project incorporated math, science, ELAR (English, Language Arts, and Reading) and history. The eighth grade teachers set up a mock colony of Roanoke, complete with examples of artifacts and evidence found by archeologists. Students were tasked with trying to determine what happened to the 117 missing colonists who tried to establish the first English settlement in America. Eight grade science teacher Mandi Brown said that “once [the students] had a theory, they chose groups with others who shared their theory in order to build a presentation trying to persuade someone that their theory is correct based on their evidence.”

Students created three to five-minute presentations and presented in the Van Alstyne Middle School library to teachers who narrowed the presentations down. Debbie Cholette, eighth grade ELAR teacher, said that the teachers “are very proud of them.” All presentations were videoed and made available via QR code. The top four finalists then presented to a panel on Tuesday. Finalists included Alli Cholette, Dayanara Saenz, Charlotte Thomas, Reagan Gibson, Makenna Dancer, Zack Morakabian, Sammy Pell, Austin Johnson, Logan Walnofer, Michael Koch, Camryn Adams and Easley Smith.

The most persuasive presentation winners, Camryn Adams and Easley Smith, were announced Tuesday night when parents were invited to view the mock scene and watch the finalists present.