Senior projects

Benefits and drawbacks

Ella Prince, Staff Writer

Senior year is full of big, exciting decisions that help to frame a future for students leaving high school. Senior projects, which require seniors to research a topic and present it publicly, are one of several graduation requirements. These projects, however, have seniors wondering if the process is even beneficial to their learning, as they potentially add undue stress and worry.

Chloe Leonard, a senior at FHS, described how she understands senior projects, and how they are supposed to be helpful. “We have been told that these projects are to help us better prepare for college speeches and classes… they’re supposed to show where we are academically in writing and giving speeches, too.” 

Leonard mentioned that they can be helpful, but it seems to be more “overwhelming– almost to the point that I don’t even know how it can help me.” Though she likes the idea of them, she also feels like they should have made public speaking and presentations more prominent throughout high school. “I feel like if we did public speaking all throughout high school rather than being thrown right into it for our senior year, that would be beneficial for college.”

Mrs. Black, school counselor intern and former English teacher, mentioned how much projects have changed since she took over in 2016. “These projects were almost the whole year. They started in August and ended in April. It had to be a paper, a presentation, and a product. I decided to change the rubric and made it to where that is what they would have done in my class anyway.” 

She explained that writing a research paper and giving a presentation is what she would do in a normal English class if there were no Senior Projects. “I wanted it to be about a quarter-ish long, and make it more stress-free.” This gives students enough time to research and plan their paper and presentation but also allows them to have time after senior projects to receive more grades during the 3rd and 4th quarters. “The advice I have for students is to research your topic before you get too far in-depth with your project. If your topic doesn’t have enough information and research, then it will be difficult to write an entire paper on that topic.” 

Bella Lucas and Olivia Crayne don’t see the benefit in the projects. “I really think that this project is outdated and not relevant for student benefits,” mentioned Crayne. “It used to be a product and this big ordeal, but now it is one presentation and a research paper that could be submitted to our teachers rather than speaking publicly.” 

Bella Lucas also explained that public speaking is beneficial to students, but one project for senior year is not helpful. “Maybe if we did public speaking all throughout high school it could be helpful for college, but just throwing us in one time our senior year is not helpful.” Crayne also mentioned that she disagrees with the idea of having a panel grading us. “In college, we have to do public speaking, but only one teacher is grading us. Not all of the teachers from the college.”

While college prep is certainly important, it seems that the seniors are struggling to connect the project to these potential benefits. Some have different opinions on if this is truly helping students better themselves for their upcoming future.