BRUNSWICK

Quick exercise: Form a mental picture of what the words “wild,” “justice” and “superfluous” mean.

Then, assume the conjured meanings have been captured on digital video file and been shared with four people from towns across the state.

What might others share that would be similar? How would the images and meanings be different?

Most important: What could one learn from the exercise? That’s the question that Isabella Jorgensen wants her five subjects to explore.

Jorgensen, who goes by “Izzy,” is a senior at Brunswick High School. She came up with the project, which she calls “Wider Lens,” last summer while trying to think of an independent study project she could do during her senior year.

Assuming the fundraising is successful, video cameras and laptop computers will be distributed to students or elementary classes in rural Maine towns, including Mars Hill in Aroostook County, Rumford, Eastport in eastern Maine, and Portland.

Using the cameras, the kids will capture images of what the words mean to them. The iPads will be used to hook all of the disparate students up via videoconference so they can talk about their discoveries, what they learned, their differences and similarities.

Through “Wider Lens,” Jorgensen wants to help the students get a look at what lies beyond the snowbanks of their hometowns.

“We want to help kids who haven’t had the chance to leave their ‘home’ area, and give them a chance to see what’s out there and available,” Jorgensen said. “It lets these kids see that there’s a lot more out there than what they see every day — but at the same time, they’re going to go someplace else and learn that many things are similar, too.”

Jorgensen met Bob Stuart, director of Maine College Circle, and the idea began to take shape. Suart works with students and parents in rural Maine, trying to help younger kids raise their aspirations and understand what opportunities are available to them.

“Some of these communities set their bar fairly low at what it takes to survive because of what they see around them,” Stuart said. “You know, the pulp mill closed or the factory shut down, and after a while, that’s all they see.”

More than a one-way picture though, Jorgensen wants Wider Lens to be an active dialogue between its participants. Thus, the word list and the need for cameras, tablets and videoconferencing.

“I’m a nerd, so this might not be fun for other people, but I think it’s fun to open up a dictionary, learn new words and find ways to apply them,” Jorgensen said. “I wanted to use SATkind of words, words that everyone could apply to their own community. I wanted them to be a challenge to apply, but still to be reasonable.”

To fund it, she established a dedicated account at Bank of America and then started a crowdfunding campaign on the website IndieGoGo. With a little less than a month remaining in the campaign, $715 — just less than 30 percent — of the overall goal of $2,500 has been contributed.

“We talked about trying to counteract the isolation of rural communties and rural poverty,” Stuart said, “and we agreed it was really helpful for (youths) to connect with other parts of the world, helping the kid in Mars Hill to communicate with kids in the Riverton School in Portland, just to show them what else is out there.”

Brunswick seniors David DeCamilla, the project’s “computer master,” and Mary Fasso will get more involved once funding is secured and equipment has been purchased, Jorgensen said.

They also want to bring in underclassmen to observe and make Wider Lens a selfsustaining yearly project.

To contribute, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/ wider-lens-project, or contact Jorgensen at 319- 6132 to make a donation.

ISABELLA Jorgensen, who goes by “Izzy,” is a senior at Brunswick High School. She came up with the project, which she calls “Wider Lens,” last summer while trying to think of an independent study project she could do during her senior year.



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