Mckenzie Dorris, Class of 2016 Honors Candidate, recently took her thesis project, “Moving Melodies,” on the road. After over a year of research on how music interacts with the brain, Mckenzie wanted to do something with her scholarship that would directly benefit others. On Wednesday, Jan. 13, Mckenzie took fifteen Episcopal student volunteers to teach and perform for a crowd of over twenty residents of St. James Place Health and Wellness Center. The students played classics like “You Are My Sunshine” on hand-bells, with the residents before performing other songs including “Amazing Grace.” According to Ed Picard, the Life Enrichment manager there, it was one of the most popularly attended activities he’s seen, and one of the most successful.
By the end of the teaching and performing sessions, the residents were spontaneously singing along. “This is what it’s all about,” said Mr. Picard. This student-devised service contribution, while inspired by her thesis project, is something above and beyond the expectations for success in the Honors Diploma Program. Mckenzie hopes to continue to develop the service opportunity further for her peers at Episcopal and the residents of St. James Place.
For those interested in learning more about her research and this type of service opportunity, Mckenzie will be presenting her thesis project to the entire Upper School at LAUNCH Day on February 26.
Student volunteers included: Abby Castine, Hayden Cresson, Clayton Counts, Isabella Harlan, Lauren Hicks, Caroline Hixon, Angelina Leo, Emma Massengale, Aaron Miller, Jacob Murrey, Allison Nicolosi, Dru Powell, Megan Stauss and Richard Whitehurst.