Class of 2020 Completes Capstone Project

In place of the usual Senior Service Project, the Class of 2020 recently completed their alternative, the new Senior Capstone Project: Think Globally, Act Locally. The capstone project was created in April when it became clear traditional senior service would not be possible due to COVID-19. Built on the principles of awareness and analysis, seniors selected a mentor to work with and a social justice issue to research and raise awareness via a paper, a presentation to their peers, and a third medium of their choice.

The topics chosen by students covered the spectrum of social issues and included prison reform (Kyasha Ambroise), suicide and mental health issues among men (Aidan Wech), human trafficking (Shannon Daly), and hunger in Massachusetts (David Spinelli). While many students chose to create an infographic to convey their information visually, a few chose an audio medium and created podcasts.

For Kyasha, there was no doubt what her topic would be. "Police reform is something that I have always been passionate about since I was young. It is something that my parents have always made a priority for me to be aware of. I think after hearing about Trayvon Martin at the age of ten, I felt called to be a part of the awareness for the issue in a more personal way by researching it on my own."

Aidan Wech chose an equally personal topic, saying, "I chose the topic of suicide rates among men mostly due to personal experiences with the people in my life. I have experienced the effects of it, and this has caused me to look at the world from a different point of view. I believed that researching this could allow me to help those who need it"

Both Aidan and Kyasha found quality resources during their research. Kyasha recommends Ava DuVernay's film 13th. "It really explores the issue from so many different perspectives," she said, "those in the system, those who are part of the system's problems, and those advocating for change." 

Aidan wants to remind everyone that help is available to those who need it. "You are not alone," he said. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

Ms. Julia Gustin supervised several of the virtual presentation sessions and was impressed with the work the students put into their projects, saying, "Not only were the projects well researched and the students knowledgeable, but you could also tell that the students were passionate about the content they were sharing with their peers. They did a great job of choosing social justice topics that aligned with their interests and their genuine care was evident in the work they did. I feel lucky to have been a presentation host and witness how these compassionate and intelligent students are ready to be leaders and will continue to enact positive change in our world."

You may click on any of the infographics displayed below for a larger view. The podcasts created by Kyasha Ambroise and Gabby Rizzo are also available to listen to below.



For a copy of Kasha's visual presentation, click here.