Our Turn: The Senior Project
At NCSS, senior year is a little different than it is at a traditional high school. Here at NCSS, you have to complete a senior project in order to graduate. The senior project requires seniors to have at least one hundred hours completed on their project. Seniors must also present in front of a panel of judges in order to graduate. This project is a process and is meant to put us outside of our comfort zone and begin to explore a possible future area of study. It is a great learning experience. A former NCSS student, Alec Effinger explains the senior project from experience, “The senior project is a great way to get students ready for projects in post-secondary school and in a workplace. Having to complete all aspects of the project, document the project, present the project, and reflect on it makes a student understand more than just the information learned, but also how to use it. For me it has helped with completing projects in college by keeping up with my goals that are set and also with a job being able to reflect on my work.”
As I begin my senior project, I would like to go to school to become a preschool teacher so my project will focus on the steps it takes in order to do that. The senior project is the final project you complete at NCSS. It consists of around nine main tasks that are required to complete on a timely basis. The tasks that are required are an initial proposal, a poster, product proposal, and research paper proposal, obtaining a mentor, electronic portfolio, thank you letters, resume, and a final presentation.
The first task is coming up with the initial project proposal. We start that around January. Next, we create a poster, which will be presented by each senior in front of the school. We will also read our thesis at this time. By doing this it allows us to share with our fellow classmates what our project will be about because not everyone will know before presenting. We must create a product proposal; this is a plan that helps us determine our product’s main focus. Creating an idea for a product is what comes next in this process. We have an open range of what we can do for our product. For mine, I am thinking of having a Prezi (a web-based visual aid) showing all of the lessons plans that I will create. Then there is the research paper proposal, this helps us determine the main points we would like to get across in our paper. In my own opinion, I believe that the research paper is one of the most challenging parts of the senior project. I think it’s challenging because it has to be a 5-15 page research-based paper. We also have to find a mentor from the community. Our mentor is an expert in the field and is there to help give us ideas about what this particular field or topic is about. They also help with answering the questions we may be struggling with. I feel like having a mentor throughout this project is very beneficial. We also have to create an electronic portfolio that includes: home/cover page (title, name, and date), table of contents/links, letter of introduction to judges, current résumé, initial proposal, paper proposal, product proposal, formatted reflections (min. 5), research paper cover page, research paper body, research paper, annotated bibliography, links to presentation/printed presentation slides, time logs, thank you note to advisor, thank you note to mentor, and thank you note to judges. Along the way there are many other things we will do but these are the main things.
At the end one of the last things we will do is present our project on senior presentation night. I am excited and also very nervous for this part of the project. I know if I put in a lot of hard work and am determined that I will be able to graduate and have a very well put together presentation.