Participation in Senior Projects Reaches A New High

A+page+of+Cheli+Kalina%27s+cupcake+design+project.

A page of Cheli Kalina’s cupcake design project.

Every year, seniors have the option to take up a senior project in place of English class for the fourth marking period.

“The Senior Project is a way for students to earn credit while further developing their own interests,” senior project coordinator Mr. Saxon says, “We want to give students some control of their own education.”

The senior project can be anything you are interested in; however, embarking on this option requires a lot more time and effort than many students may assume.

“The senior projects are a great test of individual initiative,” Mr. Saxon states, “You’ve got to be able to stand alone out there, and that’s why it is optional. Not everyone wants to do that right now.”

Because of how demanding the project is, only a select number of seniors end up deciding to commit. This year, there are ten seniors participating in the senior project, while there are typically only five seniors per year; Mila Lam, Brianna Musco, Angeline Petit-Frere, Jackie Tsontakis, Romy Conrad, April Hanna, Kelly Gao, Cheli Kalina, Emma Sheinbaum (myself), and Marc Solomon.

For Mila Lam’s senior project, she is creating and conducting a scientific psychological experiment. As she is going into the field of science, she chose to do this project so “[she] could get some experience executing a ‘real’ scientific experiment. The method for the experiment is essentially universal.”

Brianna Musco is making an EP album about three songs long. “It’s pretty cool but a little frustrating when you get writer’s block or have difficulty creating an instrumental that matches up with the tone of the song.” Nevertheless, she is passionate about her music and is looking forward to continuing to study music in college as a music industry major at Monmouth.

“In the near future, I’d like to become an event planner and designer,” said Angeline Petit-Frere, “With that in mind, my senior project is to startup my event planning and design business, Gigi’s Soir.” Angie has two goals for her project: to make a top of the line website with a full marketing and business report. Her second goal is to figure out how a professional planner puts everything together. “These two goals will lead me into starting up the business I always dreamt of.”

Jackie Tsonakis constructed an online support network for kids whose parents or siblings are affected by cancer. “My goal is to connect kids whose family members are affected by cancer to give them others to talk to who have been through it before.”

Attending the Fashion Institute of Technology as a fashion design major is Romy Conrad, who is basing her senior project on fashion. She is designing a whole season’s clothing collection for a brand she created and named Romy. She will be drawing, constructing, and photographing each garment she makes.

“My project is called 20 Strangers,” April Hanna describes, “I am seeking out twenty people I don’t know here at school, taking their portrait, asking the question ‘what is your greatest dream?’ … then creating a photography portfolio.” Her project studies the ever-relevant art form of meeting new people.

Cheli Kalina is creating a cupcake recipe and design guide for her senior project, along with a website with images of her cupcakes and cakes. “I am creating a business layout of a bakery I hope to own one day,” she says, “I love baking and am passionate about art and chose to put the two together for my senior project.”

For my senior project, I am writing a short story. I chose to do this for my project because I love writing and will be pursuing it as a career–but first, as a major in college.

Kelly Gao’s project is about studying microbes in the oceans and using them as indicators for how climate change affects one of the largest natural ecosystems, the Ocean. “I will be writing a research paper about the findings of other researchers and later during the summer, I will conduct my own studies branching off of what I have read so far. Another thing that I will create is a PCR protocol manual for students at PHHS to use the future if they want to conduct genetic studies.”

Marc Solomon is writing and playing his own jazz music for his project.

Mr. Saxon says of this year’s group, “We have more students working on a senior project this year than we’ve had in a long time. I’m usually right around 5 students, but this year we are at 10. Hopefully, the momentum will continue.

“I have had students this year ready to go from the moment I presented to them about this topic in September. It’s great to see students like Brianna Musco emailing me every other week counting down the days until the project officially started. Enthusiasm like that is inspiring.”

The senior project students each have a mentor who help guide them through the process week-by-week. At the end of the project, each senior presents his or her work to the faculty committee, who grade them. Mr. Saxon receives comments every year from the faculty saying how much they enjoy watching and seeing what the seniors can do when they are given the time and space to develop on their own.

“The senior project option gives seniors the opportunity to explore their own capabilities,” says Mr. Saxon, “It’s a progressive project, that matches well with out expanding technology and new class schedule next year.”