What would you do if you had 200 hours to explore in depth any topic you wanted?
Our 12th-graders answer this question for themselves through their Senior Signature Projects. These projects are capstones to their high school academic careers and take place within a required two-trimester course taken as part of their 12th-grade course of study.
Successful projects have three essential traits:
- They embody the core tenets of Bay’s academic program, including depth over breadth, innovative thinking, mindful self-reflection and sustained effort over time.
- They are ambitious enough that they provide many opportunities to make mistakes, learn from them and grow.
- They benefit specific target audiences or communities beyond just each individual 12th-grader.
Within these basic guidelines, 12th-graders are encouraged to choose topics that first and foremost stem from their own passions and interests. Bay has always believed that any topic can be explored with rigor and depth. Indeed, one of the challenges of these projects is defining what these two words mean in the context of their individual projects.
In the context of Senior Projects, students experience the difference between being high school students and being young adults working as professionals in their chosen field. In addition to becoming more knowledgeable about their topics, they also practice life skills such as accountability, timely professional communication, time management, project planning and revision, persistence and resilience.
Guided by Bay’s Senior Signature Projects instructors, students organize and plan their projects, reach out to potential mentors, experts who provide guidance and feedback throughout the process, track and document their progress and work through project-specific challenges as they arise. In the end, each student creates a deliverable and makes a formal presentation to the school community at an Exhibition Night. Through these projects, students explore possible areas of study for college and careers, develop project-planning and professional skills and connect deeply with the community beyond the walls of the school.