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More Independent Capstones at PHS in 2020-2021

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More Independent Capstones at PHS in 2020-2021
Posted on 05/27/2021
This is the image for the news article titled More Independent Capstones at PHS in 2020-2021

Typically, just a handful of students take on an independent senior capstone project at Portland High School, but during this challenging school year, many more took on unique independent projects, according to Andrea Levinsky, PHS Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator.

The projects included building an artist’s shed, building a smoker, artwork, career research, building a guitar, making electronic music, and researching topics such as Buddhism, reading and mental health, preparing for the Navy, lobstering and African clothing, she said.

Capstone requirements include student choice and research. Most students complete their capstone through a class, but some students design their own independent projects. In a typical year, there may be two or three students who take on an independent capstone, but this year more than 20 students designed their own project.

Independent capstones help students to explore a particular passion.

Skye Ferris, who made a series of portraits of friends and family, reflected on her project. “My advice for next year’s students is to choose a project that you are actually excited to complete, as I found my own process very enjoyable and it was something I had wanted to do for some time,” she said.

Elias Parker, who worked with two other students to help build an artist’s shed, said, “I am most proud of the seemingly far-fetched idea we had, and our ability to follow through and not sacrifice any magnificence nor quality in our project.”  When asked about advice he would give other students, Eli said: “Go big! You’ll be proud of yourself.”

“This large increase is likely due to the fact that the pandemic allowed for more independent learning, time to explore personal interests, and flexible time in which to do the projects,” Levinsky said. “Hopefully this is a start to many meaningful independent projects in the future!”

Photo: PHS students Elias Parker, Jack Mahoney, Mikeal Van Mierlo work on an artist's shed senior capstone project.