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The Milton Measure

School-sanctioned Senioritis (Projects) Begins at the End of April

by on Friday, April 14th, 2017

Senior spring is finally upon us, bringing, as always, Senior Projects. A longstanding tradition at Milton, Senior Projects offer students in their final weeks of high school a chance to culminate their Milton experience with an assignment of their choosing, which they will present at the end of the school year. Although projects are not mandatory, very few seniors opt out of doing one because of the unique experiences that it can provide. Students can complete one full project, two “half projects,” or one half project while continuing 2 of their regular courses. With such diverse interests among the student body, senior projects are varied every year and within a class. Now that all the projects have been approved (or conditionally passed), many seniors are anxiously waiting for classes to end, and project season to begin.

One senior, Chloe LeStage will complete two half projects. Her first project is creating an art gallery with two of her friends; she plans on splitting up the project into a week of sculpting, a week of ceramics, and a week of recording music, which will be played in the background of the gallery. When asked about how she got this idea, Chloe said that she was in part inspired by her advanced sculpting class, and wanted to combine sculpture with another passion of hers: music. She also said that she’s excited to be able to spend a large chunk of each day focused on just art for the first time. Her second half project is working with the psychologist at The Park School in Brookline (PreK – 8th Grade) to interview kids about kindness and present her findings. She chose this project because not only does she potentially want to major in psychology but also her idea of majoring in psychology was inspired by the very psychologist she’ll be working with.

Clare Lonergan, also pursuing two half projects, was inspired to do her first project by her time spent volunteering at the Taylor Elementary School in Mattapan last year. She and another student will interview teachers and students at Milton’s Lower School and Bridge Boston, a charter school, and then record a podcast that highlights what they have learned about the students and faculty at each school. Her other half project will be going in a very different direction — Clare will be examining the physics behind trick shots in a video of her own trick shots, an idea inspired by the YouTube channel “Dude Perfect,” which posts weekly trick shot compilations.

While these students get to look forward to pursuing these projects, not all students were so fortunate to have their projects approved by the Senior Projects committee. In order for a senior to do their project, they must submit their idea along with a detailed plan for each hour of the day for the month of senior projects. Additionally, their idea must be either categorized as Community Engagement, Scholarship, Internship, or the Arts. While Chloe says that she is “lucky both of [her] projects got passed” she also called the approval process “ridiculous.” She was not alone in her opinion, as other students expressed similar sentiments about the rigor of the approval process. Caleb Rhodes, who, like Clare and Chloe, is embarking on two half projects, said that many students opted for two half projects instead of a full project because “it’s safer to do two halves because it’s more likely that one or both of them will pass.” The fear of not getting a project approved stems from the fact that a student only receives feedback once the committee has made a decision. If they get denied, all the work planning the project will have been for nothing.

While some seniors may feel the process is overly-harsh, Ms. Bonenfant maintains a different position, saying that projects must be treated with the same weight as class work and that “if we were just to go say ‘go do what you want for a month and good luck,’ I would rather graduate [the seniors] on May 1st.” Additionally, while students might have complained about the extreme detail of planning out how they’ll spend their time, Ms. Bonenfant stresses that the reason for the detailed schedule is to make sure that students can complete their projects without any hiccups and can receive their diplomas come graduation day. In regards to the perceived increase in half projects as a result of the strenuous approval process, she adds that, although she does not know the actual numbers, half projects have always been popular. She also stated that the approval process might be revised in future years so that students receive feedback during the process instead of only after decisions. Regardless of how they felt about the approval process, the seniors can now take a collective sigh of relief and look forward to the coming weeks.

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Posted by on Apr 14 2017. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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