As we head into March and the longer days and warmer weather arrive, we are reminded that we only have a finite time remaining with our incredible senior class. This is a time in the school year where seniors begin to gain even more independence, given time to explore new passions as they prepare to graduate from a community some have called home for nearly their entire lives.
One of the first markers of senior spring is senior project presentations, and this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night, seniors will share more about a project they’ve taken on this year. The capstone to the Maine Coast Waldorf High School experience is this senior project– a year-long effort in which seniors are able to study something they are interested or passionate about that they haven’t been able to take on in a traditional classroom setting.
Seniors generally pick an area of focus by the end of their junior year and then connect with a teacher or someone in the school community who can mentor them through the project throughout the course of the year.
As always there are some incredibly creative projects this year, ranging from co-writing an entire musical, starting a school newspaper, to hiking and skiing peaks in the Appalachian Trail, or getting SCUBA certified to learn underwater photography skills (to name just a few).
“We have this belief in Waldorf education that students move from form to freedom,” explained High School chair David Barham. “It’s this idea that you’re 17 or 18 years old, and we want you to take a more active hand in your own education. You’re older—you can make your own choices and you can do these things independently with a mentor guiding you, rather than teachers telling you what to do.”
As they complete their work, seniors are asked to give a 10-15 minute presentation to the wider community about their project and what they’ve learned. It’s a time to stand on stage and share the fruits of their work, but also share the process they went through, and their setbacks and other challenges along the way.
As with everything about this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges in how students have been able to approach the work on their projects, and that is no different for this year’s presentations: while normally a large community event, we’ve had to scale back the audience and spread the presentations out over the course of three days. Luckily, each evening will be livestreamed, and you can even ask questions via the livestream from home. Tune in each night at 6pm at www.mainecoastwaldorf.org/senior-projects
After senior project presentations, it’s onto the next stage of their unique senior spring. Seniors will leave the classroom for the following five weeks to undertake an internship or volunteer experience of their choosing. We’ll welcome them back to campus following April Break so that they can be connected in community once again as they prepare to graduate.