A senior’s last hurrah

Senior Project helps seniors encapsulate their years

Ella Vick, staff writer

For many seniors, the second semester of senior year represents everything they have been working for since freshman year. Despite being a momentous year, senioritis has caused many students to end their high school careers with a lot less than a bang. However, South provides an opportunity for seniors to end their high school years in a powerful, fulfilling way: Senior Project.

John Blix, sponsor of the Senior Project and business education teacher, explained that the opportunity is a way to enhance the learning experience seniors have had by concluding their journeys meaningfully, through projects representative of their years of effort during their high school careers.

“Senior Project gives seniors an opportunity to finish their year learning in a new and authentic way,” Blix said. “It’s a capstone experience.”

Whether it be fashion, woods, or accounting, projects can be centered around any field of study, Blix said. In the past, students interested in banking may have pursued an internship at a bank, or those considering a major in architecture may have volunteered at construction sites. Blix affirmed that the experience of career immersion can highlight seniors’ interests and provide clarity for their futures.

“It’s one thing to take classes, score well on tests, and be interested in something in a theoretical way,” Blix said. “But when you show up to an accounting office, or you go on roadside assistance to job sites, you learn pretty quickly if the career is really for you. That experience is like nothing else offered in this building.”

This year, Blix will release applications to participate in Senior Project on Dec. 1, with a due date on March 1, which gives students plenty of time to think through the opportunity and brainstorm options that could be constructive and enjoyable for them.

“There’s no limit to the number of students that can be approved,” Blix said.

The requirements to complete a project are a 3.0 GPA, no unexcused absences, and a topic that is an extension of individual learning, Dawn Hall, sponsor of the Senior Project and Instructional Supervisor for Career and Technical Education, said. Students use the project to expand upon an already established interest, Hall explained.

“If [an idea is] not an extension of something you’ve been doing or somewhere you’re headed, that doesn’t fit into what Senior Project is,” Hall said.

Senior Project was forced to take a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. With opportunities slowly returning, Hall hopes that this year’s projects have the potential to be especially triumphant. Not only will they be a celebration of students’ work, but of students’ collective resilience in the face of a global pandemic.

“We lost two years of Senior Project because we felt opportunities were going to be limited for students; it wouldn’t be fair,” Hall said. “We’re extremely excited to be able to offer it this year.”

Due to the lapse in projects, students may be looking for clarification on the process of completing one. Hall explained that participating in the project entails ending students’ senior year two to four weeks early. Each student decides their project length based on their academic schedule and the subject matter they have chosen.

“Four weeks is a significant [amount of time] for areas such as engineering, which tends to take a bit more time,” Hall said. “We [also] work around the AP testing schedule to ensure every student feels supported.”

Upon project completion, a showcase event displays students’ work. The Senior Project Showcase occurs during lunch blocks. Students present their trifold poster, a visual representation of their hard work. Students answer questions, share their endeavors, and display how they’ve grown, Hall said.

“Senior Project neatly coincides with graduation,” Hall said. “Students end the year more independent while still participating in the things they’ve been so active in throughout their years at South.”

Senior Alex Gates is one of many students who plans to complete a project this spring. He hopes to utilize both creativity and competition in a potentisl project idea, teaching people how to code. Gates adds that he wants to ensure that his experience at South has been worthwhile through Senior Project.

“The purpose of my [prospective] project is teaching and inspiring coding and computer technology,” Gates said. “I feel that contributing to my community is a way to make my time at South significant and leave with no regrets.”