• Employee Resources
  • Language

Engineering and music come together to light up Mountain Vista this holiday season

HIGHLANDS RANCH –Mountain Vista High School senior Spencer Pozder may be finished with his finals, but he still has one authentic assessment yet to complete. His love for engineering and music will be on display this holiday season in a lighting display he designed at Mountain Vista, which will help raise money for the school’s band and orchestra.

“It has been a lot of work, especially during finals,” explained Pozder.

The display, which will incorporate dozens of strands of LED lights, is choreographed to music by the band and orchestra’s recent holiday concert.

Using lessons taught in his engineering class, Pozder has been busy programming the light show.

“The Arduinos are these little micro controllers. We learned how to code them, how the software works, and the language behind it [in class]. We didn’t specifically learn about lights, but it is the same kind of implications,” explained Pozder.

“Some light displays are set up to do this automatically. They put in the music and based on the tones of the music, it turns on specific lights or turns them off. What we are doing is very customized,” Pozder said. “We decided to do it this way, even though it would take longer because we could do a lot more with the effects.”

Pozder, who plays the violin, says that it takes about an hour-per-minute to translate the tone of the music, into commands for the lighting.

“If the flutes are in a section, we like to have a flute kind of display going on, where we have a lighter color and more dimming. When it is the brass section, it would be more direct and a darker color,” Pozder said.

What started as an idea has grown into a project, involving teachers and Mountain Vista’s Tri M National Music Society

Working with Pozder’s engineering teacher the group worked to determine what equipment was needed and how to make it as efficient as possible.

“Everything we are using is LED. That helps with the power consumption and it helps with the timing. LEDs will turn on and off faster than incandescent bulbs,” Pozder said. “I had to do a lot of research into what kinds of lights we could use to ensure we didn’t trip the breakers.”

On Thursday and Friday, the Tri M members have been at work setting up the display, so that it will be ready for Friday night’s debut. Pozder says he worries that it will be a bit like that memorable scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

“My worst fear is that we plug everything in and it doesn’t work or we hit go and everything works perfectly, but it is not as cool as we expected it to be,” Pozder said.

We have no doubt that the display, which will be lit from 6:30 to 9 p.m. every night between Friday December 19 and Tuesday December 23 will be spectacular.

Visitors will be able to tune their radios to a selected station to listen to the music from the warmth of their cars.

It is a fundraiser for the MVHS music department and the Tri M Music Honor Society students will be on hand to accept donations and to sell hot chocolate. 


December 19, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: High School Education, Schools

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.