Senior Projects: Atalli Zimmerman, Charlotte Graves & Zechariah Ecret - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Senior Projects: Atalli Zimmerman, Charlotte Graves & Zechariah Ecret

Today we continue on our Senior Spotlight with three more senior projects that cover a diverse range of topics. Today’s projects are all thought provoking and we are proud to be graduating these deeply thoughtful and creative young adults. To view a video of their presentations, please see the links under their abstracts.

Atalli Zimmerman: The Western Diet – Nutrition’s Effect on Human Health

Quality nutrition plays an incredibly impactful role in preventing illness, increasing energy levels, achieving longevity, and improving overall physical and mental well-being. However, quality nutrition is often overlooked and inhibited by poor dietary choices in the United States. The Standard American Diet, otherwise known as the Western Diet, is an extremely prevalent modern dietary pattern followed by both adults and children in the United States. The goal of this project was to understand what is bad about the Western Diet and then identify principles for how we can improve it with that understanding. During my research, I found that the Standard American Diet is characterized by high consumption of dairy, refined grains, alcohol, salt, refined sugars, fatty domestic meat, and refined vegetable oils. Furthermore, the common development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity in the United States is largely due to the poor composition of the Standard American diet. I discovered that five major flaws have led to the Western Diet’s association with chronic disease, those being inadequate consumption of micronutrients, overconsumption of high glycemic loads, excessive intake of saturated fat, excessive intake of sodium, and unhealthy daily macronutrient proportioning. Conversely, a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can effectively treat and prevent these chronic diseases. With that knowledge, I developed a healthier diet model with meals and recipes focused on the level of micronutrients per calorie and adequate and appropriate consumption of fat, protein, and carbohydrates within individual caloric limits. My research and diet creation have taught me that a qualitative diet can lead to a more sustainable, desirable, and healthy lifestyle while instilling a more disciplined and dedicated mindset.

To view Atali’s senior presentation, please click here.


Charlotte Graves: Love Your Mother – Where the Current Climate Crisis is Headed and How Regenerative Organic Agriculture Could Combat Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We are heading for a world that will be more than 3 degrees warmer by 2100.  Droughts will become the norm, air quality will worsen, diseases will spread at higher rates, and growing food will become nearly impossible unless we strive for change.  In the United States alone, it is estimated that we release 6,558 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses each year into our atmosphere.  The best place to capture and hold carbon is in healthy soil, and who better to perform this service than farmers.  Farmers have more power and capacity than any other occupation to capture carbon in their everyday work.  The Regenerative Organic farming movement is considering this, and working to educate and encourage farmers to perform this important service through a change in farming practices.  The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call, reminding us how vital it is to act before disaster strikes.  We are quickly moving toward a global climate crisis that will be irreversible unless we take initiative now.  At Booker Vineyard in Paso Robles, we have been working toward achieving our Regenerative Organic Certification in hopes of doing our small part in combating climate change and creating a healthier world for the future farming generations.  The goal of Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) is to promote holistic agriculture practices in an all-encompassing certification that increases soil organic matter over time and sequesters carbon below and above ground, which could be a tool to mitigate climate change; and provides economic stability and fairness for farmers, ranchers, and workers. The Regenerative Organic Certification is structured around three pillars: solid health, animal welfare, and farmer and worker fairness.  The ROC checklist walks farmers through the requirements that must be met by each pillar, measuring and evaluating their compliance to create continuous improvement of their farming practices.  At Booker, we try to change our outlook on farming practices; instead of seeing expenses in terms of dollars, we try to see expenses in terms of carbon output, and in turn, this has helped us reduce costs regarding fossil fuels, man-hours, and organic materials, such as pesticides and fertilizers.  

To view Charlotte’s senior presentation, please click here.


Zechariah Ecret: Form and Function – Building an Adobe Oven

Despite going through several iterations, my project held to the central thread of creating something that had both a practical and purposeful function while maintaining the aesthetic form of a handmade object. The purpose of my project was to refocus our perspectives and question how we use our everyday objects and why. It was not to discourage the use of our modern ovens or any modern technology. Instead, what I wanted to do was gain a deeper understanding of why I own the things I do and what function they serve. It also proved that not everything needs to be built in a factory and bought from a showroom bathed in fluorescent light.

To view Zechariah’s senior presentation, please click here.


For previous posts in our 2022 Senior Projects series, please see:

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