Head-Royce News

Senior Projects: The End of an Era for the Class of 2018
Keisha Courtney

For the past few weeks, seniors have been digging deeply into projects that spark their interests beyond the classroom. By completing the Senior Projects, 12th graders are able to focus solely on their chosen area of interest without having the additional responsibility of meeting other assignment deadlines.

Since the projects have been taking place, Senior Dean Andy Spear has seen the implementation of the Big Build, art projects, science projects, and perhaps the most interesting project of this year--a student who is learning how to whistle from a professional.

“I wanted to work on a project that was unique and memorable that I would never have the opportunity to do any other time in my life. I spent a lot of time over the past several months considering what to pick. I decided on whistling because it’s unusual, it’s something I really want to improve in, and I’d otherwise probably never make the time to focus on it,” Dana said.

Although she doesn’t have dreams of becoming a professional whistler, she hopes that by completing this project, she can improve her range, pitch, and arrangement in whistling.

“I started researching whistling and ways to improve and I came across the man who is now my supervisor, Christopher Ullman. I knew I would love to work with him because of his great philosophy on life: everyone has their own unique whistle—their passion, their gift to others, and how they contribute to the world,” Dana G. ’18 said.

Students are required to document their 80 hours of required work, have an adult supervisor, and turn in a paper at the end of their experience.

“The senior project is designed to be experiential -- so there's a wide range of activities that qualify. Most typical is a shadowing or intern experience. However, we've always welcomed our more artistically-inclined students to use this time to pursue their own creative work, so long as that work is guided by an actual professional in the field,” Spear said.

While some students are working from home, others have to go to brick and mortar locations to complete their projects. Maya F. ’18 is one such student. She is working at a pop-up gallery.

“I’m really hoping to understand what goes into the creation of an exhibit, especially the intricacies of design, curation, and physical presentation that are so easily overlooked by the consumer,” Maya said.

At a time when many adults deem seniors as ready to move on from high school with one foot already out of the door -- the senior project actually reignites students’ vigor for learning, which is why it’s assigned during senior year.

“I think the senior project is brilliant because it allows seniors to focus their attention on something they care about. So often we mischaracterize seniors as ‘checked out.’ The senior project allows us to refocus our attention on what excites us and connect with our community in a way most of us haven’t done before,” Foster said.

Other senior projects completed this year include: an experience working in a high-end restaurant, a glimpse into the world of pharmacology, the coding of a dialysis machine, a role as an Assistant to the CEO at Eventbrite, among others.

More School News