Senior projects showcased at Morgan City High School
MORGAN CITY, La. — Morgan City High School seniors showed off projects they have been working on the entire semester to the public Tuesday at Morgan City High School’s Senior Project Showcase.
The students shared their senior projects before presenting them to a panel of judges today for a grade. The presentation counts as the students’ final exam in the class.
The senior project is part of an English 4 honors class taught by Leslie Smith.
Smith, who has also worked in the tourism industry and attended trade shows, added the showcase event of the senior projects because she wanted the students to share their projects with the community, she said.
Smith had another class in the fall that also did senior projects.
In addition to the presentation of their projects, students also have to turn in a portfolio, a research paper and the product they create, Smith said.
“It has to be a stretch for them. It has to be something that they’re interested in. It could either be a career path or a college major that they’re interested in, or it can just be a hobby,” Smith said.
The showcase event allowed students to work on their speaking skills presenting their projects to anyone who may come to their display, Smith said.
Each student also had to find a mentor to help them with their projects and was required to work on their projects for at least 20 hours, Smith said.
Students explained what went into their projects and their experiences during the semester.
Student Kendale Watson did his project on sugar sculpting making elaborate showpieces out of sugar, he said. “I actually chose this project because nobody else has ever done it before,” Watson said.
He found the project by watching the Food Network show, “TLC.” His mentor for the project was the winner of the sugar sculpting competition on the show, Tariq Hanna.
Hanna also owns a bakery shop in New Orleans, Watson said.
Watson said the project was more time consuming than he thought it would be. Watson did this project as a hobby. He plans to attend Xavier University in New Orleans on a scholarship and major in pediatric oncology.
Adam Lacy made a mobile game app for his senior project using computer software, he said. He got his idea for the game from the arcade game, Galaga, and chose a soccer theme as he is a soccer player, Lacy said.
The object of his game is for players to kick soccer balls on a soccer field at zombies who descend on the field and destroy the zombies, he said. “It’s brought out my passion for computers,” Lacy said.
Lacy plans to major in geomatics at Nicholls State University. He said he would like to major in computer engineering but Nicholls does not have that major.
Hunter Harrington did his project on quantum trapping, which consists of taking a ceramic superconductor, made of yttrium, barium, copper and oxygen, and cooling it to -200 degrees Celsius with liquid nitrogen. The superconductor will then levitate off a magnet, Harrington said.
“I wanted to exploit the fact of how we could update our transportation in everyday life,” Harrington said. “If we somehow made a condenser that made the nitrogen that’s in our everyday air, liquefied it to cool our streets, and we had superconductors under our car, we would have hovering cars.”
St. Mary Parish English Program Manager Lisa Thibodeaux visited each of the student project displays Tuesday at Morgan City High School.
“I truly feel like this senior project is one of the best activities that a student can do for life,” Thibodeaux said.
The showcase event also teaches students to be able to talk to adults effectively, she said.
Students put a lot of work into the project and at times working on it can be frustrating, she said. “The pride that you see on their face is probably only matched by graduation night,” Thibodaux said.
Thibodeaux is concerned that Louisiana Education Superintendent John White is putting more emphasis on AP classes and less emphasis on senior projects, she said. Students used to receive extra points for completing senior projects but no longer get extra credit, Thibodeaux said. All the public high schools in the parish, except Berwick High School, participate in the senior project program, she said.
Other students also came up with unique ideas for their senior projects.
Alexis Vaughn did her project on recycled jewelry, which is jewelry made from non-traditional material or old jewelry made into new jewelry, she said.
She spent about 34 hours making her 30 pieces of jewelry, she said. Vaughn used fish scales for one of the pieces. Vaughn said she spent time thinking of ideas and materials to use “to really bring out a more creative side.”
Kade Armond did his project on something he would like to do professionally but enjoys it more as a hobby, he said.
Armond worked on car collision repairs and body modifications. He described his project as “two projects in one.” In addition to collision repairs, he had to learn how to do electrical, sound and other technical work, Armond said.
Armond has been accepted to the Nashville Auto Diesel College where he received a $1,000 scholarship, he said.
Carly Gowan found out some facts she did not know about Louisiana history during her project. Gowan toured Baton Rouge, Thibodaux and Lafayette as part of her project on the history of Louisiana, she said.
Gowan learned that milk is the state drink and sweet potato is the state vegetable. She also learned that the first European inhabitants of Louisiana were German and that the common last name in the region, Hymel, was a German name originally spelled “Himmel” but later changed it, she said.
Smith said the students got more comfortable presenting their projects to the public after a couple hours giving more detailed explanations during the four-hour showcase. The projects also help some students learn that a career they might want to pursue is not for them, Smith said.