2020 Senior Projects: A Look Inside the Pilot Program


Mecca McCain, Staff Writer

2020 marks the beginning of a pilot program titled “Senior Projects”! The Class of 2020 was first informed of this program before Winter Break in December by Eduardo Polón, Senior Projects Pilot Program Design Coordinator. Senior Projects were introduced to seniors as, “a selective, elective, independent, learner-centered and self-directed passion project that affords qualified and approved participants the opportunity to let their lives speak beyond the traditional high school environment by sampling a potential career, serving the community or exploring a deep personal interest that culminates in a formal and reflective presentation to a panel of faculty, staff, alumni and Trustees on the expectations, challenges, lessons and rewards of said experience.” Winter Break was used as time for seniors to create a proposal to be submitted to the Senior Projects Pilot Program Committee by January 13th. Because this year is the first (of hopefully many future years), very few students were selected to take part in this new program. Those selected to partake in Senior Projects include Jack Thompson, Ben GG, Siraj Faruqee, Frank Sheffielf, Chloe Nguyen, Brandon Riley, Charlie D.C., Zoe Phillips, Fernanda Velazquez Cordova, Stephen Randall, Hanke Chen, Michel Ruiz, and myself. 

With all the uncertainty that has come along with the Coronavirus and virtual learning, Senior Projects are still moving forward, although some groups have adapted their projects to better fit the current situation. The current group of Senior Projects are as follows:

  • Ben GG and Siraj Faruqee are exploring how consciousness arises from unconscious material
  • Chloe Nguyen and Brandon Riley are upcycling to make a clothing line with a fashion show
  • Charlie D.C. is creating a book showing why people serve through photography and writing
  • Hanke Chen is working with A.I. to help computers recognize the language Bengali
  • Zoe Phillips is translating experiences of mental health into art-work
  • Jack Thompson, Stephen Randall, Frank Sheffield, and Fernanda Velazquez Cordova have teamed up to create a video montage and collective memoir for the senior class 
  • Michel Ruiz and I intend on breaking language barriers and creating future global citizens with our curriculum designed to teach kids American Sign Language and Spanish


Following their final AP exam during May, the aforementioned seniors are exempted from online classes, and will be able to begin the intensive period of their projects. On the night of Wednesday, June 3rd, the Senior Projects Pilot Program will host a virtual event in which the seniors get to display their hard work in a 10 minute presentation followed by a question and answer panel afterwards. The school is excited to see what diverse, creative outcomes arise from the Senior Project Pilot Program!