Over 200 high school seniors gathered in groups at tables across the campus at East Career & Technical Academy on March 15 to present their end-of-the-year senior Capstone projects.
Students flooded the hallways as they roamed from project to project. Odalys Jimenez, 17, a junior at the school, said students anticipate the projects from the time they are freshmen to seniors.
“It’s a way for us to prepare for college, adulthood,” Jimenez said. “I gain a lot of inspiration each year from seeing everyone’s projects and how much work they put into them. It’s helping me get an idea for my theme next year.”
The project lets students creatively demonstrate how they have become active learners, according to principal Darlin Delgado. Each student chooses an area of interest and conducts in-depth research and demonstrates problem-solving, decision-making and independent learning skills, Delgado said.
“Senior year, the students start researching a topic to create an argumentative research paper,” Delgado said. “They conduct surveys and research and then at the end of the year, get to celebrate through this aspect of it. They work with a teacher mentor from the beginning of senior year to guide them through that process.”
In the schools’s marketing department, several students who’d created businesses for the project set up shop and handed out samples to students. One of the businesses was called Serenity — a beauty company created with diversity in mind.
“Our main goal is to empower individuals with different skin types to feel confident in themselves,” said 17-year-old Dyanna Montemayor. “In the beauty industry, there’s always been a lack of representation and we really wanted to break down those stigmas that society and the industry has created.”
Montemayor was one of four other students involved in the startup of the business. The group included 17-year-olds Bryanna Grijalva and Samari Badraza, and 18-year-old Erika Mato.
“We often see commercials and it’s always the same kind of people,” Grijalva said. Same body shape, same skin tone, and we kind of just wanted to show people that, hey, this is you, too.”
The three-hour event featured food, music, art exhibits and clothing — all created by students.
Delgado said the project prepares them for the future.
“These are life-applicable skills they’re receiving through this,” Delgado said. “It’s very important for their educational and professional development.”