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Senior Project changes during the spread of Covid-19
May 16, 2021
Every year the seniors of Clark Magnet High School have to complete the senior project. The project allows the seniors of Clark to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and skills, time management, organization, and risk-taking. This year the senior project is happening with more modifications due to Covid.
Earlier on in the year, senior project coordinator Narine Tatevosian said that even though the school staff recognized that seniors would have challenges during the pandemic, there were still many opportunities for seniors to have a positive senior project experience.
“We seniors have had more creative freedom this year compared to previous years,” said senior Katherine Shovlin, “Our English teachers gave us permission to do almost any project.” There were many diverse projects to choose from, which allowed students to have many options. Students needed to create a slideshow and present for 10-15 minutes. They also needed to write a 6-8 page essay.
“I had begun my senior project in october and throughout the year I worked hard and completed a total of 28 fieldwork hours,” said senior Lilya Ohanyan. Ohanyan said that many students tried their best during these tough times to complete more than 25 hours of the required fieldwork
Due to Covid-19, seniors were not required to create a portfolio that had been required for previous years. Clarks staff was more considerate and understanding of the students and their work since they have faced many limitations due to Covid, Ohanyan said. Seniors were able to take online classes, and could also use their family members as their mentors — unlike in previous years.
Most seniors were prepared for the conditions and limitations they would have to face during the pandemic. “Even though we are allowed to do almost any project, our project options are limited. Most of our projects are what can be completed at home, so it was difficult to find a mentor knowledgeable in our respective projects,” Shovlin said.
Although the seniors were allowed to choose anything that could be done from home, they still are limited and can’t complete as much since their resources are limited. “We need to complete the 25 hours of fieldwork and that’s been difficult to make time for,” Shovlin said.
After the seniors complete their projects, they have to present their senior oral board in which the students present a 10-15 minute long presentation of their senior projects. They summarize their project journey, research paper, and what they learned overall. Their speech includes visual aids of their work and the students also need to follow the effective speech guidelines.
Students will be presenting their oral boards on Wednesday via Zoom. Shovlin said that some time before the oral boards the seniors will be given a timeframe in which they need to be in the Zoom waiting room. Prior to Wednesday they will also be given feedback on their speech and Powerpoint presentation.
On Wednesday, the students will need to be in the respective Zoom meeting at their allotted time ready to present their projects. The presentations this year will be slightly modified and will not be quite as lengthy as they have been in past years due to the modified requirements.
The students will be presenting to the Clark staff, alumni, school district employees and community members. There will be a total of 31 lead teachers, which means there will be a total of 31 distinct Zoom sessions. This year the presentations have been more modified, which means there will be a total of about 15 minutes per presentation. There will be an average of seven students per Zoom meeting. The judges are expected to ask the students questions after they finish their presentation and the students maybe even perform something quick if there is time, Shovlin said.
Despite the challenges of completing the senior project, some seniors said that they felt satisfied with the end results. Senior Ani Sahakyan learned American Sign Language and found the process challenging at first. “The classes were through Zoom and we were deprived of communicating with each other in ASL, so that is also a bummer.”
She said the process was different from the previous years because on top of the senior project they still had to figure out how to navigate the online platform and incorporate it into their projects as well.
“It has definitely been a journey, but when I see how much I have learned it is definitely joyous,” Sahakyan said.
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