Friday, February 12, 2016

Senior Project, Part 1

We are really in the home stretch now. My daughter's second quarter report card was released yesterday (she managed to keep her grades up despite a growing desire to be done with high school forever — or longer if that's possible). She has one more quarter of regular courses left, then ... Senior Project. 

(With an AP Bio test squeezed in there somewhere.)

You may have noticed that I initial cap'd the words Senior and Project. That's because it is very much a proper noun. Senior Project. Senior Project. SENIOR PROJECT! It's something to aspire to, to revere, to regard with awe. Senior Project is a legend that you hear about when you start as a freshman. It offers fantastically adult promises — like open campus, no classes, and an internship.

The internship must be unpaid, but other than that, the field is fairly open. Some kids volunteer in hospitals or as teachers' aids. Some work in offices or libraries. You could build with habitat for humanity or work in a soup kitchen or community garden. My daughter will no doubt find (yet another) opportunity to work with horses.

For a while there, my daughter and her classmates thought the very existence of Senior Project might be in jeopardy. When she was a sophomore, a new principal came in and made seemingly countless, wide-reaching changes, eliminating many of the squishier bits of how the school had been run and adding rules, regulations, processes and procedures. Senior Project was in his cross-hairs for a while, and the underclassmen held their collective breath. Whether someone made a solid case for it (thank you, someone) or the principal ran out of steam or, perhaps more likely, he realized that the lunchroom is overcrowded and getting most of the seniors out of the building would be blessed cafeteria congestion relief ... who knows? The point is, here we are, Spring 2016. 

And Senior Project is on!

The fact that one is a senior does not automatically guarantee that one may pursue a Senior Project. Mais non, mon ami. One must have a certain GPA, a limited number of absences, a spotless detention record. (Having earned detention is acceptable provided that said detention was actually fulfilled.)

And, even with the above criteria met, Senior Project is not a free-for-all six weeks of hooky. There are conditions and criteria. Each student must spend 40 hours a week (35, if they're still taking an AP class) at an approved internship under the supervision of an approved supervisor. He or she must secure a faculty mentor and check in with them on a regular basis. Participants have to keep a journal and then make a 5 or 10-minute presentation when the entire experience is over.

(After hearing all this at a Senior Project parents' meeting, I asked my daughter if it might not be easier to just stay and finish her courses. She looked at me like I had two heads and came from the planet Zot. It's a look she's quite good at; she's had years of practice.)

The paperwork is due this week. Another thing my daughter is very very good at is procrastination. (Of course, she has competition there. Every mom I know boasts the same of her daughter or son.) So, I have no doubt that all of her forms will be turned in on time. Just barely.

Stay tuned. Coming up next: Senior Project, Part 2 "Getting The Internship."

If you've enjoyed this post, I invite you to order the book Lovin' the Alien here.    

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