By Michaela Unrue & Brooke-Ellynne Waters
Each senior class is required to develop a senior project portfolio and complete an exit interview as part of their graduation requirements. As juniors, students compose a letter outlining their future goals and proposing job shadowing and community service ideas. Once approved, students take action, and their final portfolio reflects community service, job shadowing experiences, several career and personality assessments, and a political ideology reflection.
“We continue to consistently hear from recent graduates how valuable the job shadowing experiences are in shaping their post-secondary plans in positive ways,” Dr. McCormick said. “The senior projects are also valuable in continuing to develop graduates’ presentation and interviewing skills. They provide a unique opportunity for students to merge their academic achievements with career pathway pursuits and other community service based qualities.”
“The most valuable thing I took from my service experience was giving back because it was a great feeling and it meant a lot to me to help others,” noted Maxwell Reamer. Maxwell, along with multiple seniors like Jaret Alexander who “liked helping the community out for the greater good,” took advantage of the summer to begin work on this year-long project.
The job shadowing piece of the project is meant to help students determine whether a career they may be considering for their future is a good fit for them. Andrew Handley embraced this opportunity, noting that “the ability to explore my passion in depth through job shadowing increased my interest in my chosen career path.”
Patrick Othites agreed. “Before my job shadowing, I really didn’t know what an average day was like for an architect. It gave me something I could never find online.”
Many members of the class of 2018 confessed that the most nerve racking part of the project was the anticipation of the exit interview. The interviews are facilitated by a committee of teachers from both the elementary and high schools. During the interview, the students recap their community service and job shadowing, discuss their future plans, and address questions posed to them by the interview team.
High school and elementary teachers alike were extremely impressed with the work ethic and professionalism shown in the interviews. Second grade teacher, Mrs. Piper stated, “I was very impressed by the genuine responses made by the students. It was evident they prepared and thought about not only what Shenango has done for their educational career, but how they could give back to the community in the future.”
Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Cox shared her sentiments, especially “the quality of the senior project presentations given by the students. Not only was I overwhelmed with the amount of hours the students gave back to the community, but I was also inspired by their motivation to change the world for the better.”
Izzabel Champ offers this advice to the class of 2019 as they begin preparing for their project. “It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life.” One of the goals of the senior project is just that, to help students plan for the future.