Wylde Q. Chicken Award Winners
1998

University Laboratory High School


1998 Wylde Q. Chicken Award Winner:
Martin Ceperley
The Parallelogram Story
Honorable Mention:
Peter Ambrose
Impromptu Poetry


1998 Wylde Q. Chicken Award Winner:
Martin Ceperley
The Parallelogram Story

Martin's Self Nomination

Ok, I want to nominate myself (Martin Ceperley) for this Wylde Q. Chicken award. This was an assignment for geometry sometime last fall. The first chapter was supposed to be completely about parallelograms, explaining them and their properties. The second chapter due a week later I think was to explain the differences between a rhombus, a rectangle, and a square, or something like that, I sort of forget. To tell you the truth, I completely forget what the assignment was for the third chapter. Oh well, it obviously didn't fulfill it whatever it was. The story behind these I think was that I was just really bogged down the week when the first one was due, so one late night I was wondering how on earth I would do a geometry paper due tomorrow, so I had a little creative spur and went completely overboard with word processor goodies. Even though as the weeks progressed, these essays became less and less relevant to the assignment, surprisingly I think Mr. Halperin gave me an A anyway.

P.S. The original turned-in chapter was printed on neon-orange paper, because I think that was all I could find that night.


Why Martin Won
An explanation from the Class of '72
Given an ordinary, humdrum geometry assignment, Martin turned in what his math teacher, Ben Halperin, characterizes as an "extremely demented" paper which nonetheless managed to fulfill the assignment completely. Mr. Halperin says it well: "Marty showed that he not only knew what he was talking about, but that he could take some part of mathematics and mold it into something extremely creative and personal."

Out of the 8 candidates nominated this year, we felt that Martin's work was the best example of spontaneous creativity in a situation where creativity wasn't particularly expected. Martin found his own utterly unique approach to an ordinary problem. This was true "coloring outside the lines."

The Parallelogram Story


Ben Halperin's Endorsement

Martin Ceperley turned in what I would categorize as an extremely demented assignment on Parallelograms. In retrospect, I should have given him an A+ instead of an A, which is the grade I did give him.

I wholeheartedly second his nomination, and presume that he submitted a copy of the assignment as part of his nomination. (I have kept a copy as well.)

First of all, it was very risky of him to turn in the assignment the way that he did, because the rest of the class had turned in more traditional essays. However, all of the math in the assignment was correct and complete. Marty showed that he not only knew what he was talking about, but that he could take some part of mathematics and mold it into something extremely creative and personal. I was so impressed with his paper that I showed it to three mathematics profs and two MathEd profs -- all of them were extremely impressed, too.

I understand this award goes to someone who has demonstrated excellence while "coloring outside the lines" -- I think that Marty has done this. You should take a look at some of the stuff he is working on for his next project (on his website)...

Ben Halperin


Honorable Mention:
Peter Ambrose
Impromptu Poetry

English Teacher Rosemary Laughlin submitted this nomination:

For your Wylde Chicken Award, I'm nominating a student combination of Gary Larson, Dave Barry, and his own wacky way with words: PETER AMBROSE ('98). Yes, Peter is the kind of offbeat, creative character you're looking to reward.

Let me introduce him as the guy who turns this in for an Impromptu Poetry response (Just ten minutes to write at the end of class after receiving a prompt and a model):


          Model of Korean Linked Verse
                         (1 4 4 2)
          Upon Listening to the Flute

          Plum blossoms fall in the garden,
          Fishes and dragons fight in the sea.
Prompt I gave the class (1997):   Listening to a scarf passing by my face:
Peter writes:
          The whoosh of a giant albatross
          flying by
          Then a distant crack as it
          encounters the windshield of another car.
Peter writes a second response:
          Mmmm, drinking a tequila milkshake
          A cold worm comes up the straw.
I kept copies of most of the Impromptu Poems Peter wrote in Junior English. I can think of only two other students in my eleven years at Uni who came close to Peter's wacky brilliance. Listen to this one Peter composed for The Rewrite Poem. The students were to take a character from a fairy tale, myth or folklore and focus on any aspect or attitude, character or conflict, adding metaphor and sound effects if appropriate.
          A Big Blue Hamburger

          The big blue hamburger sits and weeps
          No one will eat him
          He is too big
          Too blue
          Tears of ketchup
          Roll down his hamburger face.
          He reminisces of the old days
          Before his lumberjack friend
          Was put out of business by radical environmentalists.
          The hamburger cries out,
          "If only Paul were here
          To cut the chains of
          Fast Food Oppression
          With his mighty ax."
Another time the class got a Poor Richard Impromptu. They were to illustrate one of Franklin's proverbs from Poor Richard's Almanac in 6-8 lines, ending the poem with the maxim itself. Peter wrote:
          At six o'clock I felt too ill
          To eat my plate of rats and swill.
          When morning came, I was too rushed
          No breakfast, and my hair's not brushed.
          By noon I saw my lunch was gone.
          Some highwayman had supped upon
          The goods which I hoped to ingest
          Although their taste was not the best.
          And so I went a-foraging
          For a tasty source of engor-aging.
          I fell down flat, my face pale white.
          'Tis hard an an empty bag to stand upright.
As I went through Peter's five-year English file looking for his wild poems, I found a British lit exam from his Sophomore year.
     Question #1: Based upon evidence from the story "The Secret Sharer," explain
                  who you think the Secret Sharer is.

     Peter's answer:

          The Secret Sharer is a manifestation of the sailor's loneliness.  He
          needed someone to talk so, so he dreamed up the naked guy. I think the
          Nudity represents the Freedom of the Spirit while the material body is
          kept on the boat.

     Question #2: Fill eleven lines with a poem or short story about an incident in the
     life of any character you have read about this year in English class. You create
     the situation.

     Peter's response:

                             Polyphemus Meets the Educator

                     Hoohooha hahaha ha!
                     Look at the             kid with
                                        ! new !
                                                       only
                                                       one
                    THUMP! Owww.....
                    "Ambrose?"              -Here
                    "Nixon?"                   -Here
                    "Poflemius?"            - G r r r r
                    The eye stares at the small blond English teacher.
                    Doyouseemtohave somesortof problemwithmymethod
                    ofteachingbecauseifyoudothen
                    THUMP! Owww.....

As in your day, Wylde Chicken Award Committee, the teacher appreciated the wackiness and gave Peter 9 out of 10 points for #1, and 10 out of 10 points for #2. She also wrote "Ha! Ha! Clever" for a comparison composition title "Pecking Order/Peking Hors d'oeuvres."

I'm adding some additional samples of Peter's work if you care to read more.

Rosemary Laughlin