Students complete Graduation Project

Wednesday, March 24 marked the completion of the Graduation Project for fifteen students.

Seniors have been hearing about the Graduation Project since they were freshmen but were told not to worry about it until their junior year.  But even though the research did not start right away, the class of 2010 knew it was coming and dreaded its arrival.

Finally, 11th grade rolled around and the students were forced to begin the project in their English classes.  However, midway through the second semester, the Graduation Project was scrapped.

Although the majority of the 2010 class was ecstatic to have the stress of the Graduation Project lifted, a few of us were disappointed; we had already completed most, if not all, of the project and now we realized that all of the work we had done was for nothing.

I had decided to research how to write a book and get something published, if possible.  I was excited when I first heard that the project was no longer required, but then I started to realize that I had done all of the work already.  Now, I would not receive any credit for all that I had worked so hard to complete.

I had finished the research and the paper, published a short story in Leesville’s literary magazine, crescendo, and written nearly 300 pages of a story that I hope to get published soon.  The fact that this would all go unnoticed frustrated me greatly.

Since many students were in the same position as I was, officials then decided to make the project optional; those who chose to complete it would receive an extra cord at graduation.  Thirty students decided to complete the project.

As time went on, the project became harder; miscommunication between advisors and students was common and due dates were hazy.  Advisors were changed without the student’s knowledge and little to no help was provided unless the student sought out someone in charge.

Two years ago I chose an advisor who I felt could help me the most with the topic I wanted to pursue.  She taught English and proved to be very nice, understanding and extremely helpful.

A few months ago I started to receive e-mails from someone I had never heard of.  She kept asking for things that I had given to my advisor and for my entire 300 page story.  Since I did not know her, I continued to contact my advisor instead of responding to the unknown person.

Finally, when the e-mails persisted, I inquired about her only to find out that she was my new advisor.  I had not been given any warning about the advisor switch and my new advisor did not know me or my project nearly as well as my old one had. 

This was extremely frustrating to me because I trusted my old advisor with everything project-related; however, since I did not know anything about my new advisor, I had trouble trusting her to keep up with my things.

Those of us who stayed with the project were praised for our efforts, but the project continued to get harder without any guidance from our advisors.

By the beginning of 2010, only twenty students remained and five more dropped out shortly after the start of the second semester.  Many of the students who dropped it found that it was simply too frustrating and time consuming.  They would have rather spent their time enjoying their last semester of high school than worry about failing the project.

The fifteen faithful students finally made it to the practice presentations where we were critiqued and told what we needed to do in order to make our speeches better.

Wednesday, March 24, the final presentation was presented in front of five teachers.  Each of us presented in separate rooms and gave an eight to ten minute speech before answering any questions the panel of teachers had.

Once all of the questions had been answered, the students stepped outside so that the teachers could compare notes and come up with a “grade”- pass or fail.

After the presentation, we were all able to breathe a sigh of relief.  With the Graduation Project finally over and done with there is now time to relax and enjoy what is left of our senior year.

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