Heartbroken for Uvalde

Texas’ state flower: the bluebonnet

“So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain: Do not ignore the pain. Give it purpose. Use it.” -Amanda Gorman

I’ve been writing for this blog just for a few months. Traditionally the writer has remained anonymous. There certainly has been no need to mention my name when interviewing professionals or discussing holidays. But today, I am breaking from this standard. I cannot separate myself from the sorrow our nation is feeling. My name is Bre, and like you, I’m devastated.

A tragedy impossible to conceive, yet much too familiar, occurred on Tuesday. A gunman entered Robb Elementary and took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. The community of Uvalde, Texas was senselessly robbed of these loved ones, and has been left to mourn. It was the second most deadly elementary school shooting in our nation.

Connecticut’s state flower: the mountain-laurel

The fact that “elementary school shooting” is now a category makes me feel sick. I remember when the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened in 2012. When I learned of it, I was a senior in high school sitting in my American History class. My teacher was the varsity basketball coach, a very tall and broad man who loved to talk about The Godfather. I never thought I would see him cry, but he did. He cried for the lost children in Connecticut, calling them “just babies.” As I listened to him, I remember tears in my eyes and a rock in the pit of my stomach. I hoped to never feel that rock again, but I felt it again on Tuesday night.

Opening my phone after a long day, I began to see references to the shooting on social media. I didn’t want to believe it had happened again. I almost shut off my phone before reading the details. Selfishly, I didn’t want to face the reality. But I knew I had to. I wept as I read about the lost babies and the brave teachers. I cried for the children who survived, but witnessed such terror. I cried for the families of the lost. I cried along with the rest of our country.

New York’s state flower: the rose

I wish I could say that I haven’t had this experience since 2012, but it isn’t true. Every rampage shooting, every innocent life taken by gun violence, has broken my heart over and over again. They have broken our country’s heart over and over again. Just earlier this month in Buffalo, New York, a racially charged shooting took the lives of 10 people in a grocery store. It was a targeted attack on the black community. It was pure evil. These acts are fueled by violence and hatred; two concepts that should have no place in our country. We are left mourning and fearing for the safety of our loved ones with every gun violence tragedy.

We at DEPCO stand with Uvalde. We at DEPCO stand with all those who have lost their loved ones to violence.

Ways to Help

One of the worst things about these incidents is how helpless we as a society feel. What can we do for these families and communities?

-For Uvalde specifically, you can view this list of verified gofundme pages to donate directly to the affected families. Unexpected funeral expenses and other concerns are weighing down on them. You can help ease the financial burden with the click of a button.

-Robb Elementary has also opened up an official account with First State Bank for donations to the families. This is an option where you can mail in your donation and it will be distributed where it’s needed most.

-There are also verified gofundme pages for the families of the victims in Buffalo, NY that you can donate to. They, like the victims of Uvalde, need our help.

-Call your senator. Communicate with them what policies you want to see put in effect in order to further protect our citizens.

-Take a look at Mental Health First Aid‘s website to find a plethora of mental health resources. You can help yourself and others around you by recognizing and normalizing mental health treatment. Many of us suffer from a myriad of mental health issues. Bringing attention to these struggles improves lives and communities. If you are comfortable talking about your own mental health journey, share it with a friend or on social media. You never know who you may help and inspire.

Don’t let yourself become used to violence. Don’t become jaded towards senseless death. Please, don’t look away. Don’t shut off your phone, as I almost did. Feel along with everyone else, and turn those feelings into convictions.

-Written by Bre Cowley-Baker, Technical Writer at DEPCO Enterprises

A Business Owner and Mother

“Being a working mother instills in you a sense of determination.” – Felicity Jones

We at DEPCO hope you had a great Mother’s Day weekend! Mothers are a fundamental part of our society. We wanted to use today’s post to honor an amazing mom and business owner! Charity Smith has been a practicing massage therapist for 9 years. After graduating from The Utah College of Massage Therapy, she eventually ended up in Kansas City, Missouri where she founded her practice Legacy Massage in 2015. Charity is the proud mother of a young daughter and loves the balance she has struck between her passion for her career and her joy in motherhood.

Check out our interview with Charity below!

-When did you first become interested in pursuing massage therapy?

I had thought about doing some kind of physical therapy, and then I had a friend go into massage therapy and she needed some hours of practice; I was like “Oh, sign me up!” She told me that there is more to it than just this spa industry. I realized I could actually help people as a massage therapist. That sparked my interest.

I went and toured the school and thought it was totally up my alley. It seemed like my type of learning, very hands-on kinesthetic learning. But you don’t know unless you try. I thought: “It’s a year. I can give it a try, and if I hate it, I hate it.” But I ended up falling in love with it.

-So if you had to describe the difference between “the spa industry” and what you do, how would you describe it?

There are so many different types of massage therapy. What I do is called structural integration. My clients know it as “Core,” but it’s structural work. You have chiropractors that work on the bones and the skeletal system. A massage therapist works on the musculoskeletal system, so the muscles surrounding the bones.

 It’s putting the muscles back in place where they go. Chiropractors set bones, and massage therapists guide the muscle or the fascia back to where it needs to go. It’s putting your muscles back where they belong, helping them sit in a better place to release tension.

-Describe your training and education.

I graduated from the Utah College of Massage Therapy; it’s in the Provo/Orem area. I did the night program, so it took a year. I think if you do the day program it takes a little less time. But it’s flexible for anyone wanting to do it.

-Did you work in addition to training/school?

I did, oh my gosh. I was a nanny. I had a crazy schedule. I worked eleven hours in the day, from 6 am to 7 pm, and then I had class start at 7:30, got done at 10:30, went home, went to sleep, and did it all again the next day.

-What led you to start your own business in the massage therapy industry?

I graduated massage school, we moved out to Kansas City, and I decided to work for a chiropractor because that was the style of massage I liked. I worked there for literally one month. They work you to death and they pay you practically nothing. I was like: “Forget this. I can do it on my own.”

It was kind of impulsive, but I think sometimes that’s what you have to do to start a business: action. You just have to do something. So I started my business in 2015, and after three months of “nose to the grindstone,” working as hard as I possibly could, I had 300 clients and Kansas City was my new home. That was never the plan!

-What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?

I love the business side of it so much. It’s the freedom. There’s no restrictions. For some people, that’s really scary. There’s two different types of personalities in that aspect: someone who needs that structure, and somebody who craves freedom. That freedom feels amazing to me. I can wake up and love what I do every day, and I can keep evolving and changing however I want.

-What was the hardest thing about starting and maintaining a business?

My least favorite part is for sure the taxes. They just make it really complicated. I didn’t go to school for that stuff. Even with an accountant, it’s complicated. You need to know the right questions to ask your accountant. You can’t just go in blind.

-What would surprise people about being a massage therapist and being a business owner?

As far as being a massage therapist, I think it surprises people that there are so many different variations of massage besides the stereotypical spa massage. There’s Thai massage, there’s ashiatsu, pregnancy, cancer massage; you name it and you will find a niche. There’s a million different kinds of massage practices, and they all have their own place.

For the business side, right now I have amazing and loyal clients, and it’s 99% amazing. But in the beginning, you just don’t know who you’re going to get on your table. It’s kind of nerve wracking. It’s a service industry, and people will do things that surprise you! But, the beauty of owning your own business is you get to choose who you interact and work with. You deserve to want to come to work.

-What advice would you give to any interested in massage therapy and in owning their own business?

Go and get all different types of massage, because there are so many to choose from.

For your business, hire out what you don’t know. I think as business owners, usually we didn’t go to business school; we went to whatever trade we learned. Therefore, there’s a lot of stuff we don’t know, like taxes. Just be willing to say “This isn’t my wheelhouse, and that’s okay.” You don’t have to do everything.

-How would you encourage other mothers who want to start their own business or career?

I love this question! I think more mothers should do it. They should jump on in the pool, the water is fine! Moms have such a unique perspective. They need women’s ideas and talents and creativity. We have so much to offer.  There are so many different ways to do it and still be an amazing mom. Being a business owner, I have freedom. I have the ability to plan when I want to work, how much, and what I want to do.

You just have to try. The joy outweighs the fear. It’s worth it!

Charity enjoys spending time with her daughter Kiah, who will soon be celebrating her second birthday! She recently joined a volleyball team in an effort to have fun and “be someone outside of my job.” Charity loves to travel, born from spending her senior year of high school in France. She was able to go back in 2019 for her host sister’s wedding. When asked if she spoke the language, she responded: “Un ti peu.”

Understand Career and Community with DEPCO!

DEPCO’s Career and Community curriculum provides activities focused on career, family, and community. The goal is to prepare our students to enter the job market with the understanding that they will likely have familial responsibilities simultaneously. In this module, students will create their own resumes. A mock interview will also be held and recorded with a camcorder for further review.

Family is important in every phase of life, whether in school or deep into your career. Students will have the opportunity to create a family tree. They will also have the task of creating a schedule to organize the needs and demands of a family, using time management software.

Community is focused on in this module, with students learning about the resources available for the working family, specifically day cares, and senior citizen centers. Students will take on the role of a day care facilitator and use their technical writing skills to create an exercise for children. Students will also select a supportive community organization and design a promotional campaign for it.

To learn more about the Career and Community curriculum from DEPCO, click here!

Interview With a Chemist

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

Jacob Cowley is a professional chemist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been working for an Industrial Chemical Manufacturer for over a year. He started as an intern during his undergraduate program at the University of Utah and was hired as a full-time Technical Services Chemist after graduating with his degree in chemistry. Falling in love with the subject a little by chance, Jacob is nothing but complimentary of his now-profession.

Check out our interview with him below!

-What does it mean to be a Technical Services Chemist?

It’s basically quality control for the industrial products we manufacture that need testing. Some quality control testing can be done by anyone, but some manufacturing products have to be checked by somebody with a chemistry background.

-What kind of products do you produce and test?

A lot of the stuff we make is pretty basic, like acids and bases. Hydrochloric acid, or sulfuric acid, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide. We also make basic cleaning products, like soaps. We have a small pharmaceutical division too, where some of the things we make have a lot more oversight and documentation.

We make all kinds of items, but that’s the bulk of it. Some of the stuff we actually manufacture and some of it we purchase. For example, we will ship in multiple train cars with 90 percent sulfuric acid, and then we will dilute it to 50 percent and sell it.

-When did you first become interested in chemistry?

I think it was kind of a means to an end at first, because I was pre-med. I think the first time I really started thinking about it as seriously something I was interested in was when I took organic chemistry.

-What about organic chemistry interested you?

It made sense. It was like: “Here are a lot of things you are familiar with, like hormones in your body, drugs that you take, and chemical reactions that go on all the time, and here’s how they work.” For me it was a very fundamental way to see how the world around me operated.

-What kind of education and training do you need to get a job in your profession?

A lot of the people in our company just need a high school diploma. They are the operators. They are the ones that are actually doing the hard work, like unloading train cars and working with reactors.

Everyone that works in my lab though has at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or chemical engineering. Laboratory experience can get you the job, but I think most companies would want you to work towards your degree eventually.

-Where was your training and education?

At the University of Utah. The lecture classes were important to have a background to understand what I was doing, but my experience in laboratory instruction classes were much more important in relation to my day to day work. I also had my internship, and did some research working under a grad student for an honors thesis.

-Do you want to do more school and training?

Yes I do. I like my current job; it’s been a really good job. But I’m starting to think about my next step. There’s a lot of ways I can pivot, so I’m just taking my time to do some research and look into different types of programs. But for now, I’m content where I’m at.

-Did you work in addition to training/schooling?

I did work while I was in school, but it wasn’t related to the chemistry field. It was in assisted living. That didn’t hinder me from eventually getting my current job though.

-What’s your favorite thing about being a chemist?

As much as I like people, it is not an exhausting line of work with me because for the vast majority of my job, I do my own thing. I interact with people in my lab, but they are pretty quiet and chill. When I got home from work at assisted living, I felt physically and emotionally exhausted, but now I get home from work and I have tons of energy and am able to enjoy the rest of my evening. It’s much less demanding on me as an employee.

Also, if I make a mistake at work, we can fix it; there’s no life or death on the line. It’s a very relaxed environment. Sometimes it gets busy, but never to the point where I get stressed out. I can kind of just zone out and do my thing. When the day is done, I get in my car and don’t think about work until I go in the next day.

-What would surprise people about your profession?

I think it would surprise people, honestly, how doable it is. When people hear chemistry, they get intimidated a lot of the time. Of course the theory behind it and actually doing research can be quite challenging, but the day to day operations of the majority of chemists is fairly accessible to most people with a little on the job training.

-What advice would you give to anyone interested in pursuing chemistry?

I think if someone told me they were interested in pursuing a career in chemistry, I would advise them to reach out to some companies in the area to see if they could tour or shadow someone. A subject can interest you but the job might not. You could be interested in medicine, but not enjoy the day to day of being a doctor.

Living in Salt Lake City, Jacob is able to use his time out of the lab participating in outdoor activities. Growing up in the Midwest, he loves that he now knows how to snowboard. Jacob enjoys running with his dog Mowgli, playing soccer when he gets the chance, and playing the guitar with his wife on the drums. Jacob also uses his free time to read quite frequently. When asked to provide a surprising fact about himself, he responded that he memorized “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carrol in high school, which according to him is a “nonsense poem that’s fun to say.”

Discover Clinical Laboratory Science with DEPCO!

DEPCO’s Clinical Laboratory Science curriculum gives students the opportunity to perform classroom laboratory activities and apply skills and knowledge in relation to health care diagnostics. Artificial samples of body fluids and tissues for laboratory assessment are collected, labeled, and processed.

Throughout each activity, students are guided through safety measures that will help them appropriately use the equipment and supplies provided for the module. Students will also have the opportunity to look into potential careers related to Clinical Laboratory Science.

To learn more about our Clinical Laboratory Science curriculum, click here!

Interview With a Teacher

“Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” –John Steinbeck

The first week in May is our opportunity to celebrate those special individuals who devote their lives to education. DEPCO celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by chatting with Morgan Forbach. Morgan is a middle school teacher in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. She has taught Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) for one year. Someone who has dreamed of teaching for many years, she was the perfect person to tell us about the ups and downs of the teaching profession.

Check out our interview with Morgan below!

-When did you first become interested in pursuing teaching?

Teaching has always been my passion. My grandma was a teacher and I was close with her, so that is what I wanted to do.

-What kind of education and training do you need to attain a job as a teacher?

I received my Bachelor’s in Education which included student teaching.

-Where was your training and education?

I received my degree from Park (University) and student taught in the North Kansas City school district.

-Did you work in addition to training/school?

I did not work while getting my degree, although I am getting my Master’s while working.

-What’s your favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is the relationships I’m building with students. I had a 6th grader call me his “school mom” because I let him have fun but also make sure he’s focused on all of his school work.

-What’s your least favorite thing about teaching?

My least favorite thing about teaching, other than the pay, would be the mental exhaustion. Making choices all day is not something I expected.

-What would surprise people about your profession?

I think something that would surprise people is just how much we are expected to do. Every teacher says it, but there really are several small duties that add up.

-What advice would you give to any interested in becoming a teacher?

My advice for anyone who wants to be a teacher is to find something they are passionate about, but to also be open. It took me 3 years of applying and interviewing to get a job and that was when I applied for a job I hadn’t originally thought of. Also, be ready for anything and everything. Every day is new. Some are horrible and some are the most rewarding ever.

-What are some good ways to show our teachers that we appreciate them?

To show teachers they are appreciated doesn’t take a lot, just anything from the heart. Free food and gift cards are nice, but just a simple “thank you” is also nice.

When Morgan is not teaching, she is enjoying her time at home with her parents and two dogs. Morgan is a devoted vegetarian and an avid reader. She also enjoys writing in her free time.

Thank You, Teachers!

DEPCO is proud to work with many amazing teachers. The understanding of our curriculums and equipment are completely dependent on their dedication to their students! Take this week to thank those teachers who have made an impact on you or a loved one’s life. So much of what we know and who we are is “Because of a Teacher”!

National Rebuilding Day

“The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.” –Jimmy Carter

This Saturday, April 30th, is National Rebuilding Day. This holiday is intended to inspire us to improve our communities through dedicated service. The day was inspired by the group Rebuilding Together.

Rebuilding Together is a Non-Profit Organization that started back in 1973. A small group of people wanted to help their community of Midland, Texas. They saw a vast need for home repair for their neighbors, and joined together to help them. The group went on to create “Christmas in April”, a time intended to volunteer and improve communities. Eventually they received national recognition and now help improve housing all over the world for individuals with low income, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. Check out the video below to learn more about them, or visit their website!

With every year comes economic change, and 2022 is no different. Not surprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has majorly influenced housing prices and availability all over the United States. Rent has spiked nationwide and the options are limited. According to Pew Research Center, 49% of Americans say that finding affordable housing is a difficult task, most of these individuals being younger Americans, urban residents, and those with lower income.

Rebuilding Day is aimed to help improve homes that have various problems that make living difficult. Many of the people inhabiting such homes do not have the funds to fix it, or to move to a better place. Without the help of volunteers, they may be left in an impossible situation. That’s why it’s important for us to get involved!

“Getting involved” can seem daunting. That’s why we have provided the list below to show you where you can help! Check it out:

  1. Volunteer. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to go or who to contact to get involved in helping your community. Take a look at Rebuilding Together’s [Re]Build opportunities on their website. You can also check out JustServe. This is an organization that uses your location to discover volunteer opportunities near you. They also have remote service options! Lastly, simply pay attention to your surroundings. Perhaps you have an elderly neighbor that could use help with their lawn. This movement is all about improving the lives of those around you, whatever way you find it.
  2. Donate. If you have the means, this is a great option to help! Rebuilding Together has a list of many ways you can financially support them directly.
  3. Share. Spreading the word is an important factor in any movement. Share our blog post on social media. Post about what you plan to do on National Rebuilding Day. You may inspire others!

Learn about Residential Construction with DEPCO!

Our Residential Construction curriculum helps students better understand the specifics of building and fortifying a home. Students will build a model size corner of a house through our exclusive construction kit. Tools, materials, and procedures are provided!

Students will first learn about the foundation, understanding terms and concepts such as a sill plate, foundation header, and support beam. After learning these concepts, they will have the opportunity to build them. They will experience platform framing, which includes setting floor joints, measuring bridging, and adding sheathing. Afterwards, students will add exterior walls, interior walls, and roofing.

The curriculum helps students understand the building process through studying a building plan, as well as measuring, cutting, and attaching multiple different components.

To learn more about Residential Construction, click here!

National Hug a Plumber Day

“Plumbing – that little thing between the Middle Ages and Modernity.” –unknown

Plumbing is an essential part of our daily routine. We often don’t think about how dependent we are on it until something breaks! When a toilet doesn’t flush, or water doesn’t come out of our sink, the rhythm of our day is very inconvenienced. If our own simple efforts don’t fix the problem, we are left with one choice: call a plumber.

April 25th is National Hug a Plumber Day. This is our chance to appreciate those that choose a career that is difficult and sometimes under-appreciated. If we didn’t have plumbers, our lives would be far less convenient and clean!

Plumbing is a concept that has been around for thousands of years. The town of Mohenjo-Daro (located in modern day Pakistan and India) had a sewer system way back in 3500 BC. Even small homes were connected to the town sewer system, showing that they valued a clean community. Egyptians also applied plumbing techniques back in 2500 BC. They used copper pipes and tools to control the water flow of the Nile river. To learn more about the history of plumbing, click here!

While the idea of plumbing is not new, it took thousands of years for plumbing professionals to create the designs we live by today. We rely heavily on those professionals that know the ins and outs of plumbing systems! To become a plumber, one must undergo years of training, a lot of it on the job. Needless to say, it takes a brave and dedicated person to deal with the issues and messes that sometimes come along with plumbing malfunctions. Check out the video below to learn more about the pros and cons of being a plumber!

While plumbing can be a great job, it has difficult moments! Our plumbers deserve to know how much we need and appreciate them. Do you have a reliable plumber? Because we are in a pandemic, perhaps they don’t want hugs, but there are plenty of other ways to show how grateful you are! Check out our list of ways to celebrate them today:

  1. Reach out and thank them. This is pretty simple. Did a plumber save your weekend and/or your sanity at some point? Tell them! Let them know how much their hard work is valued.
  2. Refer them to others. Today would be a great day to share your plumber’s business on social media!
  3. Learn about your plumbing system in your home. It’s a good idea to have a general knowledge of plumbing! Not only can it make your calls to plumbers less frequent, it can also help plumbers understand the problem quicker in the event when you need them.

Learn about Residential Plumbing with DEPCO!

Our Residential Plumbing curriculum is a good way to educate students on the basics of indoor plumbing. Tools, terms, and techniques essential to plumbing are studied. Students are taken through safety orientation before beginning the hands on work of this module. Students are also required to study the Student Residential Plumbing Center before working on it.

Once their knowledge is sufficient, students put together and take apart a lavatory faucet. They then will mount a kitchen faucet and install a kitchen sink waste water removal system. They will also have the opportunity to install a shower head and faucet, and outside faucets. Through their activities, students will be able to differentiate the different CPVC pipes, fittings, plumbing lines, and more!

To learn more about our Residential Plumbing curriculum, click here!

Shakespeare Day

“All the world’s a stage…” -William Shakespeare

No matter who you are, chances are pretty high you have come across The Bard of Avon’s work in one way or another. Whether it was assigned reading in school, a play you happened to see, or a movie based on his work, Shakespeare has a way of touching our lives one way or another. Tomorrow is the day to celebrate this literary icon!

William Shakespeare’s birth date was not recorded, but many believe he was born on April 23rd 1564. Interestingly enough, the writer actually died on April 23rd 1616, the cause of death unknown. Many aspects of Shakespeare’s life were not well-recorded, leaving some mystery to the name we know so well. To learn more about Shakespeare’s life, check out Folger Shakespeare Library’s website.

While many of his personal details have been lost to history, his plays and poetry have thrived for roughly 400 years. The Bard wrote at least 37 plays (not to mention his collaborations), and 154 sonnets. His legacy not only gave us many of his own stories to enjoy, he defined and inspired much about storytelling that we value today.

Any fan of Shakespeare’s plays will be able to tell you that his stories often fall under two categories: comedies and tragedies. There are lots of differences between these two genres he gravitated towards. There is, however, one sure-fire way to categorize his plays. If the play ends in a marriage, or a reunion, it’s a comedy. If it ends with death of the main hero, it’s a tragedy. He did deviate from this pattern occasionally with plays such as Winter’s Tale, which first act reads like a tragedy and the second more like a comedy.

Even though Shakespeare’s stories seem to have a formula to them, we still can’t get enough. The adoration of his writing has resulted in many modern adaptations of Shakespeare, some you may have seen and not realized! Disney’s The Lion King, a children’s story about jealousy, power, and justice, mirrors Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The infamous story of Romeo and Juliet was transformed into the beloved musical, and recent film, West Side Story. Shakespeare’s comedies have been subject to adaptations as well, with The Taming of the Shrew becoming the film 10 Things I Hate about You, and the movie She’s the Man originating from Twelfth Night. Dress up a Shakespeare story with some modernity, and it’s a hit!

Check out this list of more movies you might not have known were based on Shakespeare’s plays!

A scene from “Othello”, a tragedy by William Shakespeare.

Celebrate Shakespeare Day tomorrow! Check out our list of ways to celebrate The Bard of Avon:

  1. Read a play or sonnet. Don’t have a book of Shakespeare? You can read all of his plays and poetry online! Check out The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and peruse his titles.
  2. Plan to see a play. Shakespeare plays are still widely performed all over the world. Some cities have Shakespeare Festivals, or Shakespeare in the Park, where plays are put on annually. Get on the internet and see where the nearest performance may be! It could be your local high school!
  3. Watch a movie adaptation. Whether you are interested in watching a movie that is true to the play, or you would rather see a modern spin on it, enjoy a movie night based on Shakespeare’s incredible storytelling.
  4. Talk like Shakespeare. This is a fun way to honor the late playwright. Replace your ‘yous’ with ‘thees’ and ‘thous’! Get thee to Talk Like Shakespeare‘s web page to get more elegant tips!

Discover Digital Video Production with DEPCO!

Become your own storyteller with DEPCO’s Digital Video Production curriculum! Students in this module will be given a background of film history. They will also be taught essential aspects of Digital Video Production, such as camera angles and shot techniques. Students will also be introduced to video editing software. Using their new found principles and skills, students will create and film their own projects. Imagination will be exercised as they create an original children’s story and a PSA.

Not only will students be given the tools to execute their ideas, they will also be able to learn about the reality of film making, specifically budgeting for a film. Students must use their problem solving skills to work through different budgeting possibilities.

To find out more about Digital Video Production by DEPCO, click here!

National Look Alike Day

 “There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.” -Jim Henson

Whether it’s an online celebrity test, or actually running into a person you resemble, we as a society are fascinated with doppelgängers. Looking similar to someone we have no relation to is wild! Celebrated annually on April 20th, National Look Alike Day is an excellent opportunity to potentially find your look alike!

Doppelgängers in pop culture is not a new phenomenon. The concept has inspired stories that have entertained readers and audiences alike for many years, particularly in the horror genre. Famous 19th century author Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “William Wilson” centers around a man and his look-alike tormenting him through the years. A more recent example is the horror film Us, written by famous writer and actor Jordan Peele.

While the concept of a doppelgänger can be adapted into a terrifying story, the reality of look-alikes is far more light-hearted. When two similar faces find each other, it often results in lots of laughs and posts on social media. You might have heard that every person has six look-alikes walking around. It seems far fetched, but sometimes they run into each other completely by chance! Check out the video below of people who accidentally found their doppelgänger.

Incredible as they are, these happenstance meetings don’t occur often. The idea is so captivating however, that there are some individuals that are devoted to finding similar strangers. Canadian photographer François Brunelle has been bringing together doppelgängers for over 20 years. His photography project, “I’m Not a Look-Alike” aims to bring look-alikes together from all over the world and photograph them. His photos are incredible, and leave the viewer questioning if the subjects aren’t really related! Learn more about Bunelle’s incredible work in the video below:

Do you wonder who your look-alike is? They could be closer than you think! There are many programs developed for finding your look alike that you can explore. Check out our list below.

  1. Find your real-life look-alike. This option is for those more serious about finding their long lost twin. Twin Strangers, ILookLikeYou, and My Twin Finder analyze your photo and information and try to find matches that are similar. These websites and apps can potentially connect you to someone who looks like you, however, there are some things to consider before signing up. First, you are uploading your photo for others around the world to see, a concept that has some more comfortable than others. Second, you have to provide a limited amount of information about yourself to these websites. Lastly, you will only be connected to your doppelgänger if they happen to sign up for the same program you are using.
  2. Find your celebrity look-alike. We all want to look like a celebrity, right? Well, there are plenty of websites that provide this service, some better than others! This is a fun option that doesn’t require sharing information about yourself. Think you look like Ryan Reynolds? Test it out on Star by Face!
  3. Find your ancestor look-alike. Ever wondered if you look like any of your ancestors? FamilySearch has a program called Compare A Face where users are able to insert a photo of themselves to be compared to generations of their family! This of course requires you to have a FamilySearch account and some effort on your part to build your family tree and connect it to others.
  4. Find your fine art look-alike. The Google Arts & Culture app has a fun tool called the “Art Selfie”. This is an option that analyzes your photo and searches a database of portraits in order to find your art doppelgänger! The app even tells you where the painting is, so you can visit your look-alike in person.

You can celebrate National Look Alike Day by exploring our list above, watching or reading a doppelgänger-inspired story, or simply dressing the same as a friend!

Discover Biotechnology and Genetics with DEPCO!

DEPCO’s Biotechnology and Genetics curriculum is an excellent course to help students learn about this complex field of science. Participants will exercise their math and problem solving skills frequently throughout Biotechnology and Genetics! The course is made up of multiple projects such as a hydroponics experiment, bioethics case studies, DNA and genetics activities, and a study on the fermentation process. Students will also be able to explore chromatography, blood typing experiments, and biotechnology tools.

To learn more about Biotechnology and Genetics, click here!

National Gardening Day

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” -Margaret Atwood

It’s that time of year where the weather is starting to permit more outdoor activities. Gardening is an excellent way to connect to nature and create! Back in 2018, April 14th was made National Gardening Day. It is a holiday aimed at encouraging all of us to explore the benefits of planting in our space.

Humans cultivating their own plants has been in practice for an incredibly long time. Before the 1900s, growing your food was a way of life for the majority. Whether there wasn’t many food options for purchase, or it was simply cheaper, gardening was crucial. Today, we view gardening very differently.

An individual skill that once was essential to surviving, gardening has become more of a hobby for many. To execute it well, it takes hard work, knowledge, and patience. Going to the store to purchase your vegetables, fruits, and flowers is certainly easier! You might wonder what the benefits of gardening are. Let’s explore some of the ways gardening can enrich your life:

  1. It gets you out in the sun. Vitamin D exposure is important for our mental and physical health. Gardening is a great excuse to spend hours outside, soaking up those rays.
  2. It’s a form of exercise. Whether you are lifting big pots, pulling weeds, or digging dirt, you are using your body in ways that will strengthen it.
  3. It’s a bonding activity. Taking care of your plants is something the whole family can get involved in!
  4. You can eat healthier. Eating the food that you grow will ensure no pesticides, and no previous processing.
  5. It will beautify your space. Whatever you are planting, it will likely make your property more colorful and enjoyable to look at.
  6. It gives you a sense of autonomy and purpose. Choosing plants for your garden is freeing. You can choose based on your needs and wants. Once planted, you have something to cultivate every day, with an exciting reward to look forward to.

Are you new to gardening? It can seem a bit daunting to begin planting! Check out our list of good beginner plants below:

  1. Summer squash- Zucchini and yellow squash are excellent plants to begin with! They are a tough plant against disease and insects and mainly require watering. Spring is the best time to plant them.
  2. Green beans- You can either plant pole beans or bush beans. Pole beans grow upward on vines, so they will need a structure to grow on.
  3. Tomatoes- These are great for planting in the summer! Tomatoes love the heat.
  4. Radishes- Radishes are a good choice because they are easy to take care of and are ready in just a few weeks!
  5. Potatoes- You know when you leave a bag of potatoes in your pantry for too long, and they start growing buds? You can use them to make your own potato plant!

Interested in growing houseplants as well? Take a look at this list of easy maintenance houseplants!

Gardening is an activity that will give you many benefits, is enjoyable, and attainable! Honor National Gardening Day today by making plans for your future indoor or outdoor garden!

Discover Plant Science with DEPCO!

Plants aren’t just a fun hobby, they are vital to our world! DEPCO’s Plant Science curriculum was created in order to help students become amateur plant scientists. Students will better understand the Kingdom Plantae through engaging presentations, plant experiments, and various other lab activities. After our curriculum, students will have a firm knowledge of plant structures, tissue systems, and organs. They will also be able to classify plants using Linnaeus’ System of Classification. Students will set up and complete lab experiments, such as dissecting seeds.

Students will have the opportunity to study plant adaptations, genetics and heredity in plants, ecological systems and food chains, plant nutrition and fertilization, plant life processes, and human uses of plants. Careers related to plant science are also explored.

Learn more about DEPCO’s Plant Science curriculum here!

International Be Kind To Lawyers Day

 “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” -Thurgood Marshall

Lawyers sometimes get a bad reputation. Having to navigate through complicated legal situations as a job doesn’t always result in high praise from the public. Lawyer jokes are often used to poke fun at the profession. Despite many bad attitudes and jokes at their expense, lawyers have an important place in our society! You certainly want one at your side when the unexpected happens.

April 12th is designated International Be Kind to Lawyers Day. Public speaking coach Steve Hughes founded the celebration in 2008. Many of Hughes’ clients were lawyers looking to improve their courtroom presence. When mentioning to others that he worked with such a large number of attorneys, he found that it was met with negativity often. International Be Kind to Lawyers Day was his effort to appreciate the law profession!

Law students work incredibly hard to attain the proper education to become a lawyer. Generally a 4 year bachelors degree is required before entering a minimum of 3 years in law school. They are also required to pass the Bar Examination, which allows them to practice law in specific geographical locations. Law students often have to take on a heavy amount of debt for all their years in school (an average of $160,000). Clearly becoming a lawyer is not an easy path!

When attaining the ability to practice law, the hard work is not over. Lawyers spend long hours studying their cases and creating their arguments in order to ensure that justice is found. Most full-time lawyers work more than 40 hours a week, some at big firms even working up to 80 hours a week. While they can be compensated well, not all are. Some work pro bono cases, and some are paid less for their choice of employment, such as public defenders in the United States.

We need lawyers! Keep all their hard work in mind today. There are multiple ways we can celebrate:

-First (and probably easiest) watch a movie about a lawyer! There are many excellent movies depicting the hard work of the law profession. One example is the film On The Basis Of Sex, a movie about a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her journey as a lawyer. Did you know that she and her husband went to law school at the same time, while her husband had cancer, and while they had a baby? The hard work portrayed in this movie is incredible. Watch Ginsburg’s closing argument when defending a male caregiver below!

-Second, refer someone to a good lawyer you know! Referrals are important for many lawyers. Help out their businesses when you see the opportunity!

-Third, say thank you. Has a lawyer helped you out of a bad situation? Have any helped a family member or loved one? Take today to let them know what their work means to you!

Discover Finance with DEPCO!

Finance is an important skill to function in our society. Give students a head start today through DEPCO’s Finance curriculum! In this module, students will be able to learn to make good financial decisions. They will focus on credit, budgeting, financial planning, investing, insurance protection, and business management. This course will help students grow into responsible consumers. They will also be given the tools to become potential business owners.

Spreadsheet software skills (Microsoft Excel) will be taught in order to maintain personal finances, develop business statements and charts, and track profits. Students will also be able to complete banking and investment forms.

To learn more about DEPCO’s Finance curriculum, click here!

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