Advisors scheme up dream senior projects

Dr. Steve Heilig is given a chance to design a senior project of his own.

Bobby Verhey

Dr. Steve Heilig is given a chance to design a senior project of his own.

An annual pillar of springtime at SPA involves the early departure of the senior class for the month of May. During this period, the senior class participates in “Senior Project” in which they devote at least 7 hours a week to focus activities such as internships, creative projects, career exploration; at least 3 hours of community service, and no more than 6 hours of personal enrichment activities, such as school theater or sports. Aside from these requirements, the project intentionally leaves room for students to get creative, and think outside of the box for what they want to do.
This idea is why brainstorming plays a very important role in the process of creating a senior project. Because of this, seniors began brainstorming ideas for all three components of the projects this past January, three months before they submit their project for review in April.
US Science teachers Dr. Steve Heilig and Dr. Amy Stading are the head advisors for the project. They said, “The goal of senior project is to enhance the positive, personal development of each student through community involvement, commitment to an experiential objective, thorough investigation of a topic outside of school curriculum, and exposure to possible career choices.”
Heilig and Stading each have led presentations and encouraged brainstorming throughout the year and just recently began approving student’s projects ahead of the starting date: May. 10. While they’ve been looking over senior project proposals, they were asked about what their dream senior project would look like.

The goal of senior project is to enhance the positive, personal development of each student through community involvement, commitment to an experiential objective, thorough investigation of a topic outside of school curriculum, and exposure to possible career choices.”

“I have about 100 ideas,” Stading said. “There are a bunch of different things I’d love to do.”
Heilig agreed. “There’s all sorts of fun things to do, I don’t know if I have just one,” he said. “Let’s see, I’d really love to catch up on some writing I’ve been trying to do […] I’ve always thought archaeology and anthropology were really cool. I would love to go someplace and be a part of a dig and maybe find some ancient human habitation or some weird dinosaur or something. When you’re digging something in the past, you’re trying to reconstruct civilizations which is really tough stuff.”
After some more thinking, Heilig said, “Building things is always fun for me. I would love to work with a sculptor and do some kind of sculpture that involves physics in some way […] There’s so many things to do, I could keep going.”
Stading said, “If I could do a senior project I think I’d like to work with a photographer, specifically someone who uses photographs to capture and chronicle everything from daily life to social movements.”
“Like a photojournalist or documentarian photographer,” she said. “Pictures have always been really meaningful to me, I enjoy taking them, having them, and looking at them. I think it would be really cool to follow and learn from someone who professionally captures and communicates important moments for people.”
Stading and Heilig’s dream projects showcase the vast amount of areas that can be explored. This year, senior project will run from May. 10 through May. 31 as students will be given the opportunity to pursue dream projects of their own.