The 2020-21 school year has been anything but traditional. So traditional end-of-year exercises alone seemed hardly adequate for this senior class to bid farewell to Crossroads. Throughout May, when twelfth graders typically part ways to embark on solitary or small-group Senior Projects, the School also offered a series of optional seminars for seniors to convene and connect on campus with an array of experts in the Crossroads community. Together, the Senior Projects and the Senior Seminars showcased the students’ creativity and their endless curiosity.
“It was inspiring to see so many seniors return for not one but multiple seminars,” says Director of Alumni Relations Jennifer Gerber ’97, who helped organize the lineup of featured speakers. “The students came to the seminars ready to ask questions and make the most of the experience.”
Held between May 4 and June 1, the seminars featured distinguished alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of Crossroads. Designer Jenni Kayne ’00 spoke about building a brand. Entrepreneurs and investors Alex Israel ’02 and Peter Fisher ’99 discussed launching a startup. Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel ’08, joined by colleagues Jack Brody, Imani Ritchards and Elijah Ezralow ’20, delivered an introduction on product design. Crossroads School Equity & Justice Institute Founding Director Derric J. Johnson shared insights on becoming an activist. Pacific Western Bank held a workshop on managing personal finances. These are just some of the sessions that were offered.
In addition to creating a puppet show for his capstone project, senior Tyler Dean attended numerous seminars. Following the final session with Henry Connelly ’05, communications director for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Tyler noted: “I think it’s interesting to be able to peek behind the curtain, especially in this day and age, when it’s so easy to see politicians as being this supernatural force. To be able to see them as people ... makes it easier to understand what’s going on and maybe even to see where we ... can help change the narrative or make a difference.”
Clara Mulligan applied the writing tips she learned from the seminar with director, producer and screenwriter J.J. Abrams to her Senior Project—a screenplay for a short film inspired by her Japanese American family’s experience in the Gila River incarceration camp during World War II. She concluded her presentation by making connections between the past and the current rise in anti-Asian hate crimes: “I think it’s important to see the patterns throughout history.”
Students presented their Senior Projects on May 25 to parents and their peers on campus, while Upper Schoolers and other members of the community watched on Zoom. As is customary, the seniors undertook an eclectic assortment of activities to close out their Crossroads careers. Darly Murray and Brendan Terry became CPR-certified; Kevin Bina attempted to learn a new skill—from changing a tire to spinning a basketball—every day; and Daniela Stahle designed and built her own chair. Check out the complete list of Senior Projects here
Crossroads will celebrate the Class of 2021 at a limited-capacity Commencement Ceremony on Thursday, June 3.