During their senior year, Whitinsville Christian School students are given the choice of writing a research paper, or participating in a Capstone Project. These year-long projects are student-led and involve an activity about which they are passionate. Students gave their final presentations in early May.
Since the Capstone Project program was launched six years, about 15% of seniors have chosen to participate. “It allows kids to go pretty much anywhere they want to go with a project. Nothing matches the joy and the satisfaction they get,” said Chris Vander Baan, WCS High School Principal, and Capstone Committee Member.
Three students completed Capstone Projects that displayed their passion for the arts. Libby Q. wanted to explore self-expression through art. She taught after-school art classes to elementary students and most enjoyed herself when her students were inspired by their project. One favorite was painting self-portraits on pumpkins. Katrina H. has enjoyed film-making since she was very young. She chose to create two videos. One was a marketing video for a local business. The other, more personal film, was a documentary featuring her grandparents and the stories of their lives. Charlotte H. created an art documentary titled “ApArt of Everything” exploring many artistic themes. The documentary included several interviews and projects where Charlotte painted directly on her interviewees.
The remaining three students chose projects that furthered their dedication to volunteerism and service. Arianna K. was inspired by her desire as a middle school student to have an older student as a mentor. She established mentor groups for all of our middle school students, recruited and equipped high school mentors, and guided discussions on topics relevant to teenagers. Kade M. held a 5K walk/run fundraising event for the MDA. Not only did the event raise awareness, Kade also raised over $12,000 for the MDA of Massachusetts. This is very personal for Kade, who was diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy last year. Adelaide D. organized groups of fellow high school volunteers to work with children at Clark Street Developmental Learning School in Worcester. She especially enjoyed the connections made with the students at Clark St. Being invited to chaperone a field trip to the Boston Aquarium was one of the highlights of her project.
Capstone Projects involve more than the six students who lead them. A large portion of the student body becomes involved with the projects each year. Between volunteering their own time mentoring or at Clark St., helping to create the documentaries, and managing the 5k event, many hands make these projects possible. Capstone Project participants also work with professional and faculty mentors, and work under the guidance of the Capstone Committee.