The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Senior English Students Begin Capstone Projects

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The third trimester is finally upon us, and for senior English students that means one thing: the annual Capstone Project.

The Senior Capstone is an opportunity to study the works of an author in depth over the course of the entire trimester. Students are required to read two novels from a selected author and completely analyze each text, which culminates in an 8-12-page thesis paper, and a four-page supplemental essay.

The project is meant to prepare students for college. The Capstone is largely self-directed, though seniors are required to schedule meetings with teachers.

Despite the workload, several seniors told The Willistonian they are fully embracing the challenge.

“Thinking about it, it seems like a lot, and it seems stressful, but once you get into it, it is kind of addicting,” said Mason Balch. “It forces you to be mature and it gives you a taste of the next level of writing.”

Students must learn to not procrastinate and do their work in a timely manner. If not, the pile-up of meetings and pages due can become stressful. “If you are good at managing your time and work, then then it should turn out as well as the effort you put in” Balch explained.

Another senior, Brianna Haviland, understands the impetus for the large undertaking.

“I think they want us to learn how to take matters into our own hands and complete our work without your teaching assigning it,” she said.

Haviland, however, does not agree with all parts of the project. “I only wish we could read a book that we wanted to read,” she said. “I would much rather choose my own author.”

The available authors are John Steinbeck, Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Willa Cather, Cormac McCarthy, James Baldwin, T.C. Boyle, Kate Chopin, Junot Diaz, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Herman Melville, Toni Morrison, Mark Twain, and Kurt Vonnegut.

However, although not everyone is excited about the daunting project, many are looking forward to the overall experience they’ll gain from it in the long run.

“I am looking forward to having more independence in class and be able to manage my time to get my work done with good quality,” commented senior Jack Phelan. His roommate and close friend Bryan Soder added, “I like that it prepares us for freshman year of college, so we are more experienced than other students.”

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Senior English Students Begin Capstone Projects