Senior Studies projects have students pursuing their dreams


Ellie Richards sews clothing for her new line.

From documentaries to democratic campaigners, Senior Studies allows students to pursue any of their independent interests.

“I started planning my project before I got into high school because I felt like it was so important to follow and understand politics to make an informed vote,” says senior Julia Danson.

Danson is using her interest in politics to fuel her project. She is campaigning and making calls to help Hillary Clinton win the Democratic nomination. She has called people from Washington DC to New Hampshire and is working for the Democratic Party of Evanston.

This is the method that Senior Studies preaches. The class encourages you to follow a dream of yours while at the same time incorporating the community, done by requiring the students to participate in community service.

The students work on their independent projects for the entirety of the second semester, but in the first semester they learn a lot about how to work independently and other key skills needed to execute their project.

One of the teachers, David Allen, believes that there are three key things that can make a project successful, “passion, time management and planning.”

He says that they teach the students a lot about time management and planning in the beginning of the year. They require the students to turn in a plan that shows exactly what they will be doing each day.

“You don’t want to wake up in the morning not knowing what you’re going to do. You want to wake up thinking, ‘I am going to interview this person’, or ‘I am going to this service site,’ or something like that,” says Allen.

One of the keys components that was mentioned was passion. This is something that cannot be taught. All the kids use their passion to drive their project. For example, Katy Flood is using her passion to help people with disabilities by creating a documentary called Exceptionalities.

She is working with a professional documentarian to create the film. She has learned a lot not just about the subject, but also about creating films.

“I have learned that the positivity and joy that people with disabilities can bring can be life changing,” says Katy. “It was for me, and I feel that they can teach us all a lesson on how to live life to the fullest.”

Senior Studies continues to be a popular class because of how independent students get to be. This year there are 53 kids, which is a surprisingly low amount. Students enjoy the class because they get to actually choose their curriculum.

There are filmmakers, architects, people creating podcasts, campaigners, musicians, comedians and radio broadcasters; you name it and you can do it. Senior Studies has something for nearly everyone. For more information on the class you can visit Mr. Allen in N240.