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Every senior in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is required to complete a capstone project, a culmination of academic and real-world skills learned throughout the previous four years.

There are some popular projects the teachers have seen time and time again, such as charity collection drives, fundraising campaigns and tutoring opportunities.

But then there are the projects that are truly unique, including the natural birth convention organized by Columbus East High School senior Shelby Woodall or the hinge hooks designed and donated by Columbus North High School senior Jesse Hart.

Off the hook

Hinge Hooks,

Jesse Hart

When the Columbus Fire Department battles a building fire, the doors can help or hinder the attack.

Capt. Michael Wilson said doors can prevent fire and smoke from spreading, but they also can shut off the water supply by pinching hoses or may even trap firefighters.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there have been 32 line-of-duty deaths in the past decade due to entrapment.

Hart, who is a student in the C4 Columbus Area Career Connection welding program, did not want to see any local firefighters included in that number.

With a $40 donation and 34 hours of labor, Hart manufactured and donated 100 hinge hooks to the local fire department. He was mentored by Capt. Dave Dwyer.

“I think the coolest thing is every firefighter is going to have a hinge hook and that they will be able to use it on a day-to-day basis,” Hart said.

Dwyer said the hooks will be especially helpful in burning buildings with automatic doors and auto-locking doors.

Hart was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the fire department.

“Our firefighters might not know the advantages of this tool until they get one,” Dwyer said.

Natural choice

Natural Birth Convention,

Shelby Woodall

Birth is not often on the minds of high school students, but that’s not the case for Woodall.

When she was little she knew she wanted to be an obstetrician, and loved watching “A Baby Story” on TLC. But it wasn’t until 2010, the year her niece was born, that she really realized her passion.

“When my sister had her first baby, she developed medical issues and needed an induction,” she said. “Although in the end my sister was blessed with a beautiful baby girl, I knew that birth could be different.”

Since that day, she’s researched natural birth and midwifery — a career she hopes to pursue after graduation.

She found that in many other countries, midwifery is used predominantly for low-risk pregnancies, and obstetricians are reserved for the high-risk pregnancies.

“Birth matters,” she said. “Yes, a healthy baby is important, but your birth experience matters, too.”

She presented that information to the public at a natural birth convention two weeks ago at Mothering Essentials. She invited a local doula, a student midwife and a breast-feeding specialist to speak.

About a dozen women attended the convention, learning about natural birth and postpartum options.

“I would love women to walk away knowing their bodies, they have choices and that their birth matters,” she said.

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