New horizons for Class of 2016


Emma Dougherty

Advisers Jennifer Staub and Lin Illingworth advise students to “stretch” themselves and their creativity for the Senior Seminar Project.

Emma Dougherty, Assistant News Editor

As the 2015-2016 school year is slated to start in the fall, so too is the pilot year of Hollis-Brookline High School’s Senior Seminar initiative.

“[The senior seminar project is an] opportunity to open thinking up and give [seniors] independence.” said Richard Barnes, principal of HBHS. “The project provides seniors the freedom to pick the subject of their proposal, and allows them to [use their] time independently for homework, interviews, and meeting with mentors so kids can figure out how to balance work with life.”

Student proposals have to be community-or civic-minded, but they won’t have to be fundraisers. Students will propose an idea that will help benefit the community as a whole, like implementing a sports program in the elementary school- or learning how to run a business.

“Its been discussed for a long time… when we really committed to it was three months ago when Mr. Barnes brought it up,” said Humanities teacher Jennifer Staub. “Its going to be a really great alternative for students in their senior year.”

Ms. Staub, along with SAU-41 staff members Lin Illingworth, Richard Barnes, and Cynthia Matte have all been heavily involved with getting the project up and running for the fast-approaching 2015-2016 school year.

The main goal for this course is to give seniors more independence, as this will be a vital element in their future college or working lives. According to Matte, “We are encouraging students to be creative and think outside the box.”

Yet the project cannot be accomplished alone. To qualify for the Senior Seminar project, a student needs community mentors, who will help, coach, or guide in their learning. In order to pass, students will need to check in with their community mentors, maintain a project log, and complete a final reflection as well as a presentation, performance, or demonstration of their use of time during the course.

Taking  the Senior Seminar course this pilot year will give students one credit for the year, with options to contract for an Honor level credit. Only one block, likely near the end of the school day, will be used for this course.There are only 30 spaces available for willing seniors to participate in this event. Those interested should enlist now by going to the HBHS website and, while signing up for next-year’s courses, sign up for the Senior Seminar for a pedagogic final year.