Seniors projects return as graduation requirement


Myah Lear

Michele Janosik’s eighth period class writes in the journal during class. Seniors in different classes have already started some work on their senior projects.

Myah Lear, Reporter

This year, unlike the past two years, senior projects are being given in English classes and are returning as a graduation requirement. The senior project is an assignment seniors have a few marking periods to complete. Seniors have to pass this project to be able to receive their diploma and graduate.

Because of the various issues that were presented in the past two years, the school board decided to suspend the requirement of the senior project to graduate.

“A lot of seniors were still in the middle of doing their senior projects and at that point we didn’t know when we were going to be coming back to school,” English teacher Jen Lowe said. “We didn’t have the ability to really use all of the electronics the way we do now very well, so it was decided that it wouldn’t be fair to make it a graduation requirement. … This past school year, because there were so many students who stayed virtual the entire time it was decided again that it was just a little extra stress to put that requirement on the seniors, and it was something that was decided they didn’t really necessarily need to do because they were having such a difficult time already just getting through the pandemic.”

This year; however, the senior project has once again become a requirement for senior students to receive their diploma.

“At the start of the new school year, we wanted everything to be back to normal as much as possible. We just kind of went back to the things that we had suspended temporarily and decided to put regular things back in place,” Lowe said.

Senior projects have been in place for many years.

“There’s really not a reason for them to not do it. We should go back to the way things were before, and it’s an essential skill,” Lowe said. “Not everybody has to write a paper their entire life, but everybody needs to know how to do research and find information that’s reliable on the internet and that’s a really valuable life skill.”

Some students feel that it is good that senior projects have been brought back.

“I definitely think that it’s a good project,” senior Luke Rokosky said. “The literary analysis portion of it might not be something that I am necessarily going to be doing in my career, but the idea of spending a whole year doing a huge project will be very beneficial to the way that I work in my future in college and career.”

There are multiple different requirements to be able to complete the project with a passing grade.

“The three main components that they have to do in order to earn a diploma, which is the point of the project, is to show that they can research and understand what quality sources are, then take that research that they found and do the second step which is to put it into a paper and properly cite their sources and where the information comes from and the third step is to deliver it as a presentation,” Lowe said.

Most teachers believe that this is a valuable project that students will complete in their time during high school.

“The research skills are really valuable because everybody really just relies on the internet now, but there’s so much bad information on the internet. So the project allows people to get some direction and understand how to evaluate sources,” Lowe said. “The next step is putting it all together into a paper. This helps people understand how to communicate their information, process it and then understand it more fully. And the final step of presenting it is a valuable skill too because you never know in the future what you might have to do in a job. It helps you to gain that confidence and being comfortable in front of a group of people is a good thing for people to know how to do.”

Although there is no virtual instruction this year, some quarantine situations do arise.

“Quarantining has created challenges already in this first month of school where we can still work with students through Google Meet and things like that given that they have to isolate, but obviously if that continues it’ll impact their ability to maybe get all the assistance they need one on one,” Lowe said. “They might have to look at extending deadlines and things of that nature that just can drag out the process instead of making it more efficient.”

If a student has a documented problem and can not present in front of the whole class, measures can be taken to do that part of the project differently.

“There are some students where, if they have certain measures like that already documented, then there can be arrangements like perhaps doing the presentation in front of just the teacher instead of the class,” Lowe said. “They still deliver it, but without all the extra anxiety of having to do it in front of other people. There’s also the possibility of just making it a smaller group like doing the presentation in front of the teacher and a couple of friends that they are more comfortable doing the presentation in front of.”

Teachers do offer to provide help to students who may need it.

“We like to just provide guidance for everybody so that it becomes their project, and they take some ownership, picking the topic that they want to do, figuring out how to do the research with just the little help that can point people in the right direction,” Lowe said. “When it comes to the drafting that’s probably the most difficult part for students because not everybody likes to write, so that gives them the chance to try and figure it out but the teachers are always going to be there to help students by looking at there drafting and help them revise and edit so the final product is one there really proud of.”

Some students have already started on their senior projects.

“What I am doing is a literary analysis of the novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand,” Rokosky said. “I am reading the novel and then looking at the different themes within the novel and different literary techniques that the author uses to convey those themes. I am basically just, really in depth, breaking down the novel, what it’s about and what the author wanted to convey with the novel and how they do that.”