Many changes are being made to the well-known senior project
By Sarah Shroyer
Capstone consists of three important aspects that help students prepare for college, creativity, working individually and perseverance. This year the famous Upper Arlington senior project is undergoing some changes. After extensive surveying of parents, teachers and seniors, capstone coordinator and social studies teacher, Yvonne Edwards realized that changes needed to be made to the project. In the beginning of summer, former Principal Emilie Greenwald, English teachers Diane Haddad and Sean Martin, and capstone coordinator Yvonne Edwards came together to come up with the changes.
There are three main changes that will affect seniors this year while working on capstones. First, according to senior English teacher Sean Martin, the project used to involve both the government and English teachers. Now the project is only tied to the English class.
“The connection between the government and language arts has been severed so that it’s really only a language arts project,” Martin said.
The second change being implemented this year involves capstone release days. According to Martin, the number of release days is less than last year. There will be five release days with two of them being flexible. This means that seniors can choose when they want to take a day off of school to work on their capstones.
The third important change being made is that capstone no longer requires community service hours.
“[Service] will still be a requirement of seniors, to do 16 hours of community service, but it no longer needs to be tied to capstone,” Martin said.
Martin found that tying the project to service and government made it more complex and restrained.
“Based on the feedback from the surveys we realized the government component wasn’t a good fit, and we also had students who were allowing the service to drive the capstone projects when that wasn’t the initial intent,” Martin said.
Edwards agrees with Martin that the service connection constricted students.
“When you take out the connection to government, and the community service being tied to the essential question in some way, I think you are going to see projects that evolve more organically and kids can explore things more openly and not feel so constrained,” Edwards said.
For Amanda Karling, a 2013 UAHS graduate, the service component fit well into her capstone topic.
“For me, incorporating the service aspect was very easy. I combined it with my product by donating the proceeds of a dance show I choreographed with Maddie Wallace,” Karling said.
Karling also found the Capstone project to be a fun experience that provided a unique chance to showcase her passions.
“Although certain aspects were tedious and took a lot of time and energy, the final product was worth it. I absolutely loved that I got to look more into something I was so passionate about- dance,” Karling said.
Another student excited about capstone is current senior Heidi Beck.
“I’m pretty excited because when my sister did her capstone she had a lot of fun so I think it will be fun for me too. I think it will be more fun than a hassle,” Beck said.
Despite the changes, the original goal of capstone remains the same.
“The goal is to have UA graduates enter college with some advantage over their peers,” Edwards said. “You have to be creative, you’re working on your own, you’re going to hit some obstacles in the road, and you have to figure out how to get around them and it’s a year long project so you have to stick with it.”
Image Caption: The UAHS Capstone project has many new changes that will be implemented this year. The changes involve capstone release days, required service and a tie to the English class.
Image by Sasha Dubson