Every year, Discovery High School rolls out its Senior Project to a new class of young adults. Some students dread the immensity that is the Senior Project and others thrive from the undertaking. In all cases, students are required to create a Senior Product as one of six required facets to the project.
No matter what they choose to build, the DHS Senior Products are required to be lasting, it must be helpful & accessible to others, and it must change the world in some capacity.
I sat down to reflect with two particular students about their products; Ms. Kendall Henderson & Mr. Thomas Colton. Henderson created, orchestrated & ran a full-day Field Day for the Pre-K that resides on our campus. “I thought it would be a great way to get the kids active,” said Henderson. Her research project & lecture focused on the link between inactivity at a young age to heart disease later in life.
Colton created a bioswale on the grounds that runs alongside our school garden. “I wanted to create something that was a sampling of what I anticipate my profession to be,” explained Colton. Colton’s research & lecture focused on replicating nature in order to tackle environmental issues.
It’s not uncommon for ambitious product ideas like these to require networking and assistance from others. “The first thing I did was sit down with the Pre-K teachers,” explained Henderson, “The [student] volunteers did exceptional and I am very thankful for them. I would not have been able to do any of it without them…they made it fun for the kids.”
Like any other enterprise, sometimes things go wrong. This can be nerve wracking for a student who is not only trying to reach a goal, but who also have a grade hanging in the balance. “I was extremely nervous the day before Field Day & the morning of because I was scared that it was going to rain or that the kids weren’t going to enjoy it,” added Henderson.
Colton had his own set of struggles taking on something as big as a construction project. “When winter was fast approaching and the original source for digging was not able to make it I was grasping at straws to find somebody with excavation equipment,” said Colton.
Both students justly felt that they had constructed a successful product. “It’s going to clean all the runoff of both our school and roofs of the nearby apartment complex. Based on the rate it’s removing pollutants, it’s going to remove about 3000 lbs. of pollutants each year,” explained Colton. “The bioswale is pulling out more than 99% of the harmful sediments in the water. Plus, it’s aesthetically pleasing and will be for years to come,” he concluded.
The Pre-K teachers were impressed with Henderson’s efforts and the Field Day in general. Henderson reflected on the event stating, “Knowing that every kid had fun & enjoyed the event is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had…because that was my goal.”