“Congratulations from New York!” exclaimed a proud aunt at the end of her niece’s Senior Project Presentation. “We’re so proud of you.”
While seniors traditionally present their projects to family, friends and fellow Upper Schoolers, this year’s presentations—held via Zoom on Tuesday, May 19, in accordance with “safer at home” orders—allowed community members from near and far to support Crossroads’ graduating class of 2020. Throughout the day, the online meetings met capacity as the seniors shared the innovative ways they broadened their horizons from within the confines of home.
“Senior Projects are an opportunity for the kids to stretch themselves, take a risk and try something new,” explains Associate Dean of College Counseling Brianna Shepard, who serves on the Senior Projects Committee. While Senior Projects always require the students to weigh the feasibility of their ideas, nearly half of the students had to reimagine their original concepts in order to complete them at home. “They went from doing something external to doing something internal,” says Brianna.
Here’s a look at three Senior Projects Presentations:
“College Survival: Gearing Up” by Victor Aguilar
Victor looked to his family’s traditions to prepare for the future. Planning to live independently for the first time at Tufts University in the fall, Victor learned to cook dishes inspired by his Mexican heritage (and with his mother’s guidance). He made mole con arroz y pollo, chilaquiles, and steak with sautéed spinach and avocado, and then designed an accompanying cookbook. “It’s another step to becoming more competent, more independent,” he reflects. “I like that you’re never done learning how to cook. There’s always something new to try.”
“The Quarantined Quilt” by Aislinn Russell and Izzy Koz
Aislinn and Izzy opted to use their final weeks of high school connecting more deeply with their peers. In lieu of their original plan to meet in person, they set up 30-minute Zoom conversations with 28 classmates. After each conversation, they created one block of a quilt that represented something memorable about the person and then sewed together the blocks. The final quilt featured 30 blocks, including a windmill symbolizing a student’s aspirations of being an environmental engineer; a silhouette of a pregnant woman representing another student’s interest in being an obstetrician; and a sailor cap illustrating a third student’s thoughts about joining the navy.
“I was surprised by every single person that we talked to,” admits Aislinn. “Everyone had so much to say,” added Izzy. Looking forward to college at Vassar and Wesleyan, respectively, Aislinn and Izzy are both excited about applying the social skills they learned through this project to build new communities.
“Watch for the Signs Ahead” by Coco Thomas
Coco Thomas focused on a different form of communication—American Sign Language (ASL)—for her project. Unable to meet in person with her mentor, Coco recalls, “I had to rethink my whole approach to this assignment.” Instead of making a sign language primer, Coco created a series of videos to teach sign language to students in kindergarten through second grade. In one video, she shows her brother, Cole Thomas ’17, how to count to 10 in ASL. In another video, she signs each letter of the alphabet while an emoji that begins with that letter appears on the screen. An aspiring sign language interpreter, Coco is enthusiastic about beginning deaf studies at California State University, Northridge, in the fall.
Check out the complete list of Senior Projects here
Crossroads plans to celebrate the seniors on Graduation Day, May 28, and hopes to hold a formal, in-person Commencement Ceremony on July 10.