Studentsexplore passions through senior projects

Published on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 by drienne Greer, Blaine H.S. Senior

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Students explore passions through senior projects

By Adrienne Greer, Blaine H.S. Senior

Washington state is home to approximately 72,000 high school seniors, and each of those students is required to complete a senior project before graduating.

If their projects are not completed on time, they will not be walking down the aisle in a gown and cap with the rest of their class come the day of graduation.

Given the stress of senior year, sometimes this added requirement seems unfair and unbearable. Yet many students take it as an opportunity to go out in the real world and show what they are capable of accomplishing.

Students are required to either do 20 hours of community service or work 20 hours with an internship.

Requirements include completing a work log showing the time committed to the work, which must include student reflections.
The senior project is then wrapped up with a presentation to outside members of the community.

Senior projects not only can give students the chance to give back to their community, but the chance to give back to their own families. Megan Myers, 17, is one such student. Before Megan was born, her father Nicolas Myers started his fight against leukemia.

After many treatments he won his battle against the leukemia, but the treatments severely weakened his immune system.

Just two weeks after Megan’s first birthday her father died of pneumonia. Megan’s experience influenced her decision to focus her senior project on raising money for the cancer foundation. Megan said, “It makes me feel like I’m helping other families with their fight with cancer, since I was too young to be able to help my family with our battle.”

Megan is organizing a fashion show, where she will auction off clothing and accessories. These garments are being donated from local businesses and crafts people. Megan had this to say about senior projects, “Senior projects should not be the thing that makes or breaks us when it comes to graduation, but they’re still good because it gives us a chance to break down what we might want to do and makes us focus on the future.”

Melissa Galbraith, 18, created her senior project to reflect what she wants as career. Her project is to help coach middle school volleyball at Blaine middle school. She is considering becoming a teacher and, to be able to coach, you must be able to teach.

Her senior project is combining her passion and ambition, volleyball and teaching. Earning her fourth varsity letter for volleyball in her senior year, Melissa has already shown her dedication to the sport. Even out of season Melissa is very focused on volleyball.

“This is something I’ve done before so I like it, but this year I get more of a coaching role, so I am very excited,” she said.

Rick Vander Yacht, one of the high school’s counselors, sees many high school seniors going through all kinds of stress brought on by their senior projects.

He encourages seniors when he says, “I realize that the anticipation of doing the work of the senior project can be stressful for high schoolers but once they are actually working on it they find out that it isn’t all that bad.”

An honor role student, Josh Kurtz, 17, is also basing his senior project on his future career goal. Kurtz has attended Blaine since primary school and since day one he has focused on getting high grades. Those grades will now help him achieve his goal to become a veterinarian.

Josh will be doing 20 hours of community service at the Sardis Wildlife Refuge. When asked why, Josh replied simply, “Because I love animals.”

At the wildlife refuge he will be helping to take care of the wildlife but there’s one thing in particular that has got him excited. While there, he will learn how to fly eagles off of his arm. What teenage boy wouldn’t want to have a huge eagle with sharp talons fly off their arm?

Blaine high school vice principal Scott Ellis has very strong feelings about the benefits from senior projects. Ellis believes, “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Blaine high school, and it’s a great way for seniors to plan their future.”

Senior year is a very stressful time for all seniors with senior project adding just a little more fluster to their year. In the end, though, seniors will reap the benefits of their hard work. It’s great that these young adults (and future leaders of our country) are taking this wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their skills, talents and above all, their passions.