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UNITED: Students gear up for graduation projects

by By RICHARD MAX NAPOTNIK JR., Gazette Student News Reporter on October 25, 2013 10:50 AM

Every senior knows that the months of September and October are hectic and stressful: It is senior year, the first real months of school are well under way and the dreaded graduation project just adds to why many seniors are starting to get gray hairs.

In truth, the graduation projects at United High School are not as bad as they seem to some students. In fact, for many students the projects provide a great opportunity for seniors to go out into the world, learn about different careers and meet people.

Lorraine Allman, adviser for the graduation projects, said, “For those who take them seriously, they (the graduation projects) are designed to give students an opportunity to explore a career or several careers. They also permit those who have the heart to serve to do community service.”

The senior project includes a presentation that must be done after all paperwork is finished. The presentation can be either in the form of a poster board display or a PowerPoint presentation. These presentations are done in the auxiliary gym, and this year the presentations were held on Oct.16.

These projects are graded and are essential to complete for any student who wishes to graduate. According to Allman, “Initial paperwork is graded by me and Janie Short (senior high guidance counselor). Presentations are evaluated by three people — a faculty member, an administrator and a community member.”

The presentation itself is graded via a rubric, and it should be noted that students may not score below proficient and must repeat the presentation if they do so.

Many seniors have asked, “Why do we have to do this project?” The answer is that the state of Pennsylvania requires every senior in every school in the state to participate in these projects.

United High School chose to implement the current project to encourage students to get out in the world and explore career opportunities or help others in the community.

Over the years there have been some very interesting and unique projects. During Allman’s years as an adviser for the project she has seen at least two such projects.

“One student did a Make-A-Wish-related project because he himself was a Make-A-Wish child,” Allman said. She also said that “a few years ago a young lady did a graduation project at a television broadcasting station. She then did her presentation by using broadcast equipment from the studio.”

This year one of the unique projects was completed by Anthony “AJ” Bono. He job-shadowed a helicopter pilot.

When asked what he did during the experience, Bono said, “I was shown around the base at the airport. The pilot showed me the helicopter, and we flew to Baltimore and Altoona. I was the co-pilot when we flew.”

Another unique project was completed by Brett Ramer, who job-shadowed a Pennsylvania Game Commission officer. When asked about his project Ramer said, “It was a good experience, and I had a fun time.”

In conclusion, the graduation project introduces students to new careers, people and ideas. It is also a good way to do community service for those who have the heart for it. While it may seem to be a pain for students, the graduation project is actually a great experience for many and especially for those who take it seriously.

PHOTO:  United High School seniors Kierra Waters, left, and McKinsey Capitosti prepared for their senior project presentations. (United High School/Submitted photo)

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