Finding Your Own Path: Senior Capstone

Photo shows writing on a chalkboard. Photo courtesy of Picpedia

Senior Capstone, a new course at J-DHS, is redefining traditional education by placing students at the helm of their learning journey. Senior Capstone isn’t your conventional class; it’s a year-long voyage of self-discovery and exploration. “[It’s] a year-long course, in which students do an inquiry project around a topic that they’ve chosen,” Charles Clinton, one of Capstone’s advisors, explained. The course fosters autonomy, with students driving their projects from conception to completion under the guidance of facilitators.

But what sets Senior Capstone apart is its interdisciplinary nature. As Clinton elaborated, “It’s not a math class… It can be on whatever students are particularly interested in.” The course transcends conventional assessments, eschewing papers and presentations for tangible creations. Students are encouraged to think outside the box, whether it’s through documentaries, events, clubs, podcasts, or innovative projects yet to be conceived.

Community connection lies at the heart of Senior Capstone. Students delve into real-world issues, leveraging community expertise to enrich their learning experience. “We don’t give students enough choice… It’s much more motivational if you’re really interested in this and you want to know more about it,” Clinton emphasized.

Reflecting on the course’s inception, Clinton revealed a desire to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. “We weren’t necessarily giving students an opportunity to do the things that ultimately they’re going to do in the world,” Clinton remarked. Senior Capstone aims to cultivate essential 21st-century skills, fostering communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.

As the conversation progressed, Clinton and Panek provided a glimpse into this year’s cohort, with students exploring diverse topics ranging from the significance of jazz in the African American community to classroom experiences for students with ADHD. With each project, students embark on a journey of self-discovery, grappling with complex issues and forging connections with the broader community.

Senior Capstone isn’t just a course; it’s a catalyst for change, empowering students to become architects of their learning. Through Senior Capstone, J-DHS is paving the way for a new era of student-driven education, where curiosity reigns supreme and possibilities are limitless.Tonight, from 7-8, there will be an exhibit where capstone students will be showcasing their work at LeMoyne College. Come support the students!

Nicole Chen, '26
Nicole Chen is a freshman at J-DHS who writes a myriad of articles for RamPage. She hopes to have her week filled with clubs (which currently, it isn’t) and she obsesses over writing quick author’s bios.