One of the options for Seniors at Dublin School is to engage in a year-long Senior Project. Senior Project offers students the opportunity to engage in rigorous study centered around a question or topic that is of special interest to them. The course has both a scholarly and a creative, or applied, component and students are given college-level expectations of independence, time management, and advanced analytical and creative problem solving.
Every student writes a research paper exploring the field or fields at the intersection of their project, documents their process with regular unit plans and reflections, works both with their Senior Project teacher and on- or off-campus mentors, and (when applicable) applies for funding for special workshops, internships, lessons or materials necessary for the enhancement of their learning. Ultimately each student channels his/her knowledge, skills and passion into creating an original work that is shared with the community on Mayfair Weekend.
Jared Lewis’s Senior Project: Designing and Building a Bicycle
By Warren Umbach
Bikes have been evolving continuously throughout the generations. Many things that have changed are frame materials, brake types, and suspension. Bike frames went from being made of steel to aluminum, and now to carbon. Brakes evolved from y-brakes to u-brakes to now disk brakes. As for suspension, now we have full suspension bikes. There are still many things that can change in the biking world.
Jared Lewis aspired to learn all that there is to know about bike design, and to make a bike of his own. He created plans to make a wooden bike in the Fall term of Senior Project. He researched existing bikes and adapted models to customize measurements for his own fully wooden bike frame. His bike frame is made of many layers of wood glued together, which were then cut out and formed. Jared’s attention to detail is shown through the precise angle on the headset of the bike and the length of the seat and chain stay. He works with his mentor, Mr. Bill Barker, four days a week during the Senior Project block to plan and carry out his design. His most exciting moment was when he successfully got his bike working. In the Spring term, Jared plans to build a custom carbon bike from scratch, taking the what he learned in the wooden frame building process to a new level.
New materials and methods of production continue to make bikes better and better. Jared is experimenting with new materials and hopes that the expertise he is gaining through his senior project will guide him through many future biking experiences and projects. Good luck to Jared as he finishes his bike.
Noelia Calcan’s Senior Project: Sexuality Education and A Desensitized Culture
By Hyeong Bin Chu
Noelia has been interested in the importance of sexual education, and how it contributes to the improvement of women’s position in the society since she was given the chance to be involved in a Human Trafficking course at Brown University. Pursuing such a topic as her Senior Project, she has been working with Ms. Jennings to learn about the relationship between power dynamics and sexuality, human trafficking, and sexual assaults.
Through reading books and articles about “how patriarchal gender roles perpetuate an unbalanced power dynamic between men and women,” she successfully examined the chronology of sexual health and its role in resolving the aggression that permeates our society. Then she moved on to find active ways to fight against global sexual harrasments aimed toward women. Inspired by the article White House to Press Colleges to Do More to Combat Rape, she decided to focus more on sexual assaults that are currently happening on college campuses. As a result, she was able to “learn about the parallels and differences between dealing with sexual violence on college campuses and independent schools.”
Furthermore, she is hoping to find out “what our society and independent schools can do to combat harassment and create awareness about sexuality education.” Such a topic comes to my mind as a double-edged sword since it is a very interesting and essential topic for the society, but at the same time, it is a topic that everyone is sensitive about and finding productive ways to break the silence that may exist in some communities may be difficult to achieve.
Quinn Thompson's Senior Project - Designing and Writing Graphic Novels
By Eliza Sigel
Quinn Thompson, a four year senior from Walpole, NH, did his senior project on designing and writing a comic book. Quinn enjoyed reading graphic novels and comic books while growing up. Throughout the year he has been working and learning about the process of writing and drawing together to create an out of this world adventure. His comic is about a group of astronauts that go on missions, while learning how to get along and overcome fears by themselves as well as all together as a team.
At the beginning of the year, Quinn felt that the hardest part of the process was getting the characters’ back-stories to match up and trying to figure out what the story was going to be about. In an interview with him, he confessed that it took roughly three months for him to come up with the full plot of the story. This was really confusing for him, because these were his own drawings and characters that he has been creating and devising back-stories for for years. After he was done writing the story, the drawing began. The drawing process was easier but still took a lot of work. The drawings need to be done on a special piece of paper that is like the size of a poster. The drawings start in pencil and then get inked in, which is where the artist will start to add details like facial expressions and shadowing.
Now he is completely finished the comic and he has sent it off to a company that takes the poster sized completed sheets and turns them into a typical-size printed and bound comic book. He is super happy with his story and reports that he has copies that he is going to be sharing with the school for people to read on Mayfair weekend.