During Quarantine, Members of Senior Quest (Description of course can be found on page 55 here) are still working hard to complete their projects within the state guidelines of social distancing. Students Ari Freedman ‘20 (doing a different pasta recipe weekly and keeping a blog) and Ian McNabb (working on Sex Education guidelines in NH and nationally) as well as class supervisor Dawn Breault were interviewed about the current status of senior quest projects.
Dan Aulbach: How has the Senior Quest Process been different or altered during Quarantine?
DB: Due to the highly independent nature of Quest, the quarantine has not been a huge issue. We have been using Zoom as a means of connecting and that has really helped. The biggest alteration relates to the final presentation. Typically the Questers will present in the auditorium at the end of May. Students, staff, parents and community members are all invited to hear what they have worked on during the school year. We moved to a model where the students will be submitting videos to me. I’m looking into options on how to share those videos with those that might be interested. They can also serve as a means of helping future Questers understand the process.
Have there been any struggles with individual projects?
IM: My particular project, trying to get the policy around sexual education changed, was put on hold a bit due to quarantine. It felt a little unethical to push for my project when we’re dealing with a national-level pandemic, so I’ve changed my focus a little bit to be focusing more on the process and on the way sexual education is done in the state and nationally.
How difficult has the overall process been for your project?
AF: My project is basically just me cooking different pasta dishes once a week in my home and posting about it on my blog. The overall process has not been too challenging. The deadlines are somewhat easy to make, and I have gotten into a routine with my project with it being a weekly task.
What have you learned from your project?
AF: While obviously I am learning how to cook, my project has really taught me so much more than that. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned has been developing graphic design skills through the website I designed for my blog.
IM: I learned a lot about how policies are made and just how difficult it is to change them. People are married to old ideas, especially when it comes to mildly controversial issues like sex ed, so I struggled to try and create change on the level that I felt like I could when the progress began.
Do you recommend that upcoming seniors should do a Senior Quest Project?
DB: Absolutely! So many students have shared with me that they really love the idea of taking a class where they get to choose the content. It’s an opportunity to take something you are passionate about and run with it! Also, as one student shared with me recently “Senior Quest has been a highlight of my time at Hollis-Brookline. It taught me invaluable skills in self-directed and collaborative learning that will no doubt be beneficial in college”.
AF:I highly recommend this class to upcoming seniors. There is so much freedom to do any project of your choosing, and you’re given the opportunity to work on something you’re passionate about for an entire school year. This is such a unique opportunity that we’re really lucky to have at HB.
IM: I really do. It’s useful for getting to know more about what you like as a student and what you want to learn about, so I think that any student who has a strong interest in anything should go and do it. I also think it looks great on college applications and can show strong academic interest, something that colleges are really interested in seeing in upcoming freshmen.