The Fourth Estate
Senior Projects PreviewMonday, May 23, 2011 By DARIA ETEZADI
After a gruelling year inundated with college applications and AP exams, seniors are getting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to personally explore their interests and hobbies on site. Senior Projects, directed by journalism teacher Ms. Trish McHale, represent a long-standing tradition. Seniors are required to devote 75 hours on a project that is either community-oriented, resembling an internship, or similar to an independent study. They are also charged with keeping a daily journal, writing a final assessment paper, and preparing and presenting a speech which they deliver in a formal ceremony in Spaulding Auditorium. Each year, seniors choose unique projects to explore within a diverse range of locations. Of the students who are currently finalizing their travel plans for their projects, some will be travelling to Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Senior Spencer Dusebout is looking forward to spending time in Kenya to foster the promotion of economic sustainability in developing countries. "I am excited to look at these villages from an economic perspective because it is something I haven’t done before," Spencer explains. "I hope to see for myself what I’ve been hearing for a long time…that water is the key to breaking the poverty cycle." Not too far away, Caroline Pickett will be in Thailand, teaching the local children how to speak and write in English. "I hope that I will learn just as much from the children as they will learn from me. I want to discover a new culture and understand what their lives are like because that is what travelling is all about." Meanwhile, Lillie Hodges is preparing to leave for London to assist organizing and photographing a fashion project. Seniors Jordan Shannon, Marshall Alex, and Matt Puzder, are pairing up with Laguna alum, David Bradley, to study hedge fund management. "I had been looking into the field of finance when this particular project fell in my lap. My off-campus advisor, David Bradley, came to speak to my AP Economics class and told us that he had been lured by his senior project advisor to learn the skills of an investor," Marshall describes. Just a few hours away, Abby Reutzel plans on studying under alum Ashley Lambert to assist with voice casting during the post-production process of film and television in Los Angeles. Sean Burke will be working with Laguna parent and board member, Marina Stevens, to illustrate a children’s book. As explained by Olivia Liebman, who will be working in K. Frank on State Street: "I would say that senior projects are a very unique time where you get to choose to do something based purely on what interests you. You don’t have to worry about putting it down on a college application or have someone critically review it. It’s really just an opportunity to explore an interest." Regardless of the project, this Laguna tradition always proves to be a breath of fresh air in the transition from high school to college.