Capstone vs. Juniors 

By Morgan Collins

It is a common fact that junior year in high school will be the hardest for a majority of students. With the difficult classes and the looming presence of college, students struggle to keep up with the rapidly accumulating deadlines. Not to mention any extracurricular activities a student needs to participate in for applications like clubs and sports. With all these obligations, time is a rare thing to have as a junior – – it was with great dismay that the junior class has yet another thing on their plates – – Capstone. 

The general idea of Capstone is that it is an independent research project geared towards students to prepare them for college. That put simply it is a good stepping stone to ensure that students get the skills they need for college; especially since many of those were lost during the pandemic years. However, what has many juniors enraged is the mandatory class that the school put in place to aid students with their Capstone projects. To an outsider this doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, but to anyone who knows the disorganized plans put in place by the school the problems become apparent. Therefore, it is neither Capstone nor the person running the class that is the issue, but the fact that the class was thrown together last minute. 

The entire point of capstone is that the students are supposed to be displaying the work they can do independently. The mandatory class takes away from this aspect of the project and is no longer an accurate representation of what a student can do. Student Riley Arenberg said, “Capstone encourages independence and a class enables us to rely on an external source.” Another problem with Capstone is the nonsensical way it was put together. The introduction of the class was given on the day before school started and said that during that first week students would be meeting with the new advisor. This tight time frame did not allow for counselors or the advisors to adjust schedules or give any sort of in depth planning regarding the class. This means they just squeezed it into any empty space that was already in the schedule like study hall and lunch. This took students away from their only free social time during the day. Furthermore, for students this method made it difficult to find out when they were supposed to be meeting, since the only prior notice you got was from the teacher in your study hall telling you seconds before you needed to be there. It all just made the class feel as if it were put together in a rush to check a box and not to ensure the success of the students. 

Some more issues surfaced like the additional Capstone work that needed to be finished for yet another due date. This would have been fine if they correlated to each person’s Capstone or it appeared as just a simple progress report. However, the added work just posed more questions and did not benefit the students nor their project. Finally, the fact that the Capstone class was not optional is what angered the majority of students. The general idea of the class is a good one, but one that is not necessary for all students. There are many kids who can manage their time well enough to make this class obsolete. 

While Capstone and its components are a good learning tool to help students, I think that our school rushed the process too much. The class, while beneficial to some, mainly led to mixed messages and confusion to the rest. This is why it would be best for juniors if this Capstone project class became optional.