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Hudson - Litchfield News 2 - May 27, 2011

Senior Projects Define the Excellence of a CHS Education

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by Doug Robinson Campbell High School (CHS) students define the Senior Project as a “project of independence, a project of trust, and project within which they are able to express their passion about a specific task, job, project, idea, or career direction.” The administrators define the CHS Senior Project as “a requirement for graduation at Campbell High School for all seniors, as well as any students considering early graduation. The Senior Project is designed by each student and approved by the Senior Project clearinghouse, and must reflect at least 40 hours of work. Completion includes a class presentation. These projects develop individual skills and knowledge in an area that the student chooses.” The CHS graduating class of 2011 is approximately 150 students.

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CHS seniors Andrew Matte, Cameron Bellisle, and Chris Gillespie (back), and Alan Popovich, Anthony Rinaldi, Jeffrey Cotgeau, and Rachel Torgersen (first row) discuss their Senior Projects, life lessons learned, and what advice they would give to an underclassman

Each of these students has not only met the rigorous academic requirements of CHS, they have also conceived, planned, executed, recorded, and has had review of their personal Senior Project. While some may have worked in teams, others worked alone. The number of individual Senior Projects is only measured by the number of graduates. Each Senior Project is as unique as a fingerprint.

Call 880-1516 or visit us at CHS principal Robert Manseau stated that the “Senior Project

is powerful. The key to the program is for the student to be passionate about the project chosen.”

Manseau also commented that during his tenure as principal, the Senior Project has been a requirement. The recommendations for the Senior Project come directly from the published article, “Breaking Ranks: Changing an American Institution,” as presented from the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the Study of the Restructuring of the American High School.

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“Breaking Ranks” contains a series of recommendations for reshaping the American high school in order to promote consistent, high achievement for all students. “In order for the Senior Project have the greatest impact, students need to personalize their decision making when deciding on what they are going to do for a project and seniors must see a relevancy with their project, too. When this happens, learning becomes relevant,” stated Manseau. Passion best defines the essence of student Senior Projects. Personal life experiences, considerations for career employment, or career possibilities guide student decisions and direction. All Senior Projects are reviewed with student advisors and regular meetings are conducted with students to assist them with their project. “You have to do something

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for which you are passionate; something that will advance

you to the future. Campbell High School offers us the opportunity to experiment, to follow our dreams, and put a plan together within the framework of the Senior Project to do what we are passionate about, while we learn and grow,” commented CHS seniors. CHS seniors are required to spend a documented 40 hours of their

time working at their Senior Project. Learning is at the center core of the Senior Project. Students learn about life, students learn about the job or experience, but most importantly, students learn mostly about themselves.

“I learned a lot about patience, especially about my patience. I learned that when I am teaching, when I am helping, that I must slow down and teach in terms of those whom I am teaching,” commented one student.

“I learned that I needed to be more consistent, be more tolerant,

and have more patience,” according to another student. “I started this project thinking that it would be easy to find information about my family who fought in WWII. I wanted to take that information and make a book. I only got three chapters done. I learned that it’s the research that takes the time. I kept asking ‘why did this happen?’ or ‘what did that mean?’ as I researched. In order to be successful, I must be very detailed a do a lot of research if I wish to be a writer.” “Writing is hard,” commented another student. “I wrote a book

which is a fantasy. When you write, you get to break the rules, but then you have to write something that people enjoy. Stepping of the box is OK, but I learned that writing is really hard. I give writers more respect today. Writing also taught me to think in advance; understand what will happen when I do or write something.” Another senior commented that “I gained a deeper understanding

of movement when I taught dance. When I broke down the steps, it taught me that I needed to be patient and be specific about what I wanted. Even though the choreography was easy for me, it was hard for others and I learned that I needed to respect that difference and adjust how I taught.” CHS’s Senior Project offers their graduates the opportunity to either

validate that which they love to do, as well as receive learning and knowledge that will improve their behaviors and communication with regards to life skills. When giving advice to an underclassman, all students agree that it is important to choose a Senior Project for which you have passion or a project that you have future dreams of becoming. And most importantly, remain open to the lessons learned from the Senior Project. They will last a lifetime.

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