Tackling the senior project
The senior project.
These words strike fear into the hearts of every Faith Christian High School student. From freshman to sophomore year, the senior project is a far-off shadow on the distant horizon; to juniors, a vaguely threatening shape in the coming distance. For seniors, however, it's an all too close sight.
At FCHS, the senior project is a research project with several facets. Seniors are required to choose a topic that has two debatable sides, preferably an issue pertinent to modern society, and thoroughly research that subject. Then they are to write an eight- to 15-page essay displaying their thesis, research, clear understanding of both sides of their topic and reasons for and against it.
This year's topics range from child abuse to music therapy to gun control to illegal immigration to the media's effect on teens and many more. Students are required to discuss the local, national and global impact of their chosen topic, as well as the religious views on it.
In addition to the essay, students give a PowerPoint presentation and speech about their topic in front of the class and several teachers, with a five- to 10-minute Q&A period following.
Students are graded on the content of their papers, speeches and presentations — and when it comes to the presentations, they are also graded on their ability to give a professional-quality speech and slideshow as well as their capability and knowledge about the topic when answering questions.
The senior project isn't just another grade; a passing grade on the project is a graduation requirement. As a result, the project tends to be a big part of senior year and a big cause of stress, but also a great preparation for future college and business life.
The project was originally implemented at FCHS to prepare students to give official presentations and speeches in college and the business field.
Meagan Maher, a member of the FCS branch of Future Business Leaders of America, said, "The senior project has actually helped me a lot. I learned to organize myself and my time because we are given a deadline. I became more mature about my work. I also learned a lot from my topic, which was the media's effect on teens.
"Things I would have never thought could affect teens actually do affect them, and if teens really take time to step back and unplug from the constant stream of media, they will get a whole new perspective not just on life, but themselves," she said.
Another senior, Tricia Hendricks, whose topic is child abuse, said, "Doing the senior project has definitely helped me prepare for college-level essays and presentations. I learned a lot about my topic, and it has made me think a lot more about my stance and opinion on the issue."
For me, the senior project seemed like a dark shadow looming over my senior year, a huge burden that would be nothing but stress. In reality, it was actually an opportunity to educate myself about world issues while preparing myself for college — things that I think are extremely important for all teens.
Elizabeth Andrus is a senior at Faith Christian High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.