Instead of completing or opting out of the ASVAB test like 10th or 11th grade, or visiting Beattie for the first time like 9th grade, seniors on Thursday, February 10th had a day focused on a tradition for seniors dating back to the early 2000’s. Students met with Mrs. Chester about their senior projects.

Seniors reported directly to the library to start Mod B on Thursday, February 10th. For this graduating class of 2022, they move towards the end of their four years on the high school side having only one traditional full-year experience – their freshman year. On Friday, March 13th, 2020, the exact mid-point of high school for this class of 2022, the PA Department of Education closed all public schools across the state. After a few days off, the school returned all virtually from March through June 2020- mostly through a mix of posted lessons and assignments on Google Classroom and occasional uses of Google Meet.

 

Mrs. Chester (left, seated) meets with seniors during MOD B about Senior Project details. Chester, along with Dr. George, has been senior project coordinator throughout the pandemic. “{Thursday} was for check-ins, ” wrote George in an e-mail to Avonews staff. “Some students also needed to refine projects or make adjustments because of the pandemic, weather, other circumstances.”

 

The singular focus on senior projects had some immediate impact and also began addressing a unique challenge for the graduating class of 2022.

“Two students who were struggling to move forward with their own individual projects suddenly decided that they were better off combining talents and resources to work on a project together” wrote Dr. George in an e-mail to Avonews staff.
“At the end of the 2020 school year, many students had to ditch original projects. We provided new opportunities that could be done from home: character dare, research projects, and virtual community service. One group did an online gaming marathon that raised a significant amount of money for charity” wrote George.
Guidelines for an adapted senior project offered during 2020-2021, where the school offered all virtual and hybrid schooling due to the COVID pandemic.
“We are noticing that students are more interested in taking projects seriously, particularly with community service” wrote George.  “Students are looking to get out in the community and to help others.”
Seniors we interviewed shared a common theme of struggling to grasp onto a senior project because it was overshadowed during the pandemic. Now, they suddenly have to get all of this done, which for many in the class of 2022 includes finding a project before graduation. This can cause a lot of stress, but with the right motivation, seniors will complete this task even when they are being faced with all of these challenges. The teachers, especially Dr. George, seem to be frequently helping the students  with these projects.  Still, the overall mood on the topic is stressed.
Tia Paredes-  “I don’t really like the idea of it. It is good but the execution is difficult and since we only really had freshman year as a real year, people are struggling to get their projects together. We thought since we had a lot of time we could get it done later, but then covid came and things got lost along the way.”
Kai Douglass-  “I wasn’t as prepared for it as other people [Kai was all virtual in 2020-2021], but I was lucky enough that I was going through a lot during COVID. Personally, we have been able to adapt this new idea and grasp it.”
Sage Hardiman-  “For me, it’s not so much of coming up with a project, it’s the lack of direction we received. Teachers discouraged us in freshman year and totally did not mention the project and ignored it during sophomore and junior year, It’s more needed guidance and we only got to meet with them three times about it.”
Bella Johnson-  “For mine, COVID didn’t really affect anything I did. But we are slowly but surely figuring things out and hopefully, we’ll finish things before graduation or we won’t graduate.”

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