Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hands-on forensics program aims to get students back on track

Tenth-graders Quentin Moran, center, and Anthony Sowell’s questioning of murder suspect “Lucky,” played by Forensics Technology’s Orlando Bravo, becomes heated.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

Tenth-graders Quentin Moran, center, and Anthony Sowell’s questioning of murder suspect “Lucky,” played by Forensics Technology’s Orlando Bravo, becomes heated.

ST. PETERSBURG

The media center at Northeast High became a crime scene Thursday, but in a good way.

In groups of three, 10th-grade students from the school's "Back on Track" program brushed Pepsi cans for fingerprints and compared gun cartridge cases, part of a day-long class to introduce them to the field of crime scene investigation.

The program, funded by a Planned Parenthood grant, aims to re-engage students who have fallen off track for graduation due to poor scores in Algebra I or English I in their freshman year. Fifty 10th-grade students participate in smaller class sizes and "experiential" programs to heighten their interest in academics.

The simulated investigation was led by Forensics Technology, a company that engages communities in the crime scene investigation process.

When Northeast principal Kevin Hendrick heard about Bayside High School's success with the demonstration, he scheduled a CSI day for his students.

"You see the conversations they're having and it's deep discussion about content and it's high-order thinking for them," Hendrick said during a visit to Thursday's demonstration.

The 22 participating students were handed manila folders filled with information on the fictional murder of a wealthy music producer — biographies on the suspects, crime scene evidence and notebooks. Then they divided into two investigative teams, aided by volunteers from Forensics Technology. Volunteer actors with the company played the roles of suspects, including the producer's wife, his mistress, a television show co-star and a talent scout.

Manny Dominguez, a Forensics Technology volunteer, guided students through the process of lifting fingerprints from a Pepsi can to a card.

"If one of those kids goes home and stares at the print card we gave them and says 'I think I can do this job,' and this projects them in a different direction, that would be awesome," Dominguez said. "It would be great to reach out to even just one."

Dominguez's efforts resonated with Northeast student Zack Vance, who has been researching a profession in forensics technology for seven months. "This is what I want to do in my future," Vance said.

Pairs of students shared notes and took turns questioning the five suspects. Quentin Moran and Anthony Sowell drilled actor Orlando Bravo, who played the role of a talent scout named "Lucky." Bravo's character made the students emotional, repeating their questions to throw them off.

"It was going good in the beginning and then he started trying to play mind tricks on you," Moran said.

Students discussed their theories on the murder. Destiney Gatewood and Jessica Stern compared notes on their interview with an actor who played the mistress.

"I thought we would just be looking at little things and not be really doing anything, but we're actually having a hands-on experience," Gatewood said.

At the end of the day, the students weighed the evidence and concluded that the mistress and the talent scout committed the murder. But but they were shocked to discover it was "Heidi Sommers," the television show co-star.

Hands-on forensics program aims to get students back on track 10/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 4:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote

    Blogs

    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to

    Business

    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter

    Blogs

    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.