Seniors learn of new “Dragon Talks” project, pledge to finish strong (24 photos, video)


Megan Kearney

Senior adviser and English teacher Melanie "Captain" Lindsey leads the Class of 2013 in a pledge to "Finish Strong" at the senior project launch on Monday. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press
Senior adviser and English teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey leads the Class of 2013 in a pledge to “Finish Strong” at the senior project launch on Monday. Credit: Josh Ren/The Foothill Dragon Press

The Class of 2013 gathered together in Spirto Hall on Monday to learn about the new senior project, “The Dragon Talks.”

In past years, the focus of the senior project, known as the Hero Project, was community service. Seniors selected a service organization and were expected to complete between 15 and 35 hours of service, a requirement that helped them reach the required 75 hours of community service for graduation.

Upon completion of the hours, students prepared a reflective essay on their experience and made a presentation to a panel of members of the community.

“Our goal with the Hero Project was to put students on the hero’s journey and allow them to experience first hand the power they have to make a difference in the world, even if it is in a small way. Heroism is not always massive, it is doing a nice thing, or the right thing for another human being,” senior adviser and English teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey said.

Foothill staff members have discussed changing the project for about three years, and they thought the ten-year anniversary was a good mark to make the change.

“Often, the students only saw the forced altruism in the project. We, as teachers, were well aware of the forced altruism and the irony of it, but we were trying to help the seniors kill two birds with one stone,” said Lindsey

This year, seniors will select a topic of individual interest to study and research. Students will be required to investigate their topic and gather personal experience from the project, before giving a 10 to 12 minute presentation in May.

The presentation format will be based around TED Talks, and as an example the seniors watched a TED Talk clip during the assembly.

The advisers believe that having seniors participate in Foothill’s version of TED Talks will help prepare them for public speeches in the future.

“I’m most excited for the opportunity to help the students practice public speaking in front of a crowd,” said senior adviser and teacher Kurt Miller.

The seniors will first present to their English classes the week of May 13, and some will present to underclassmen later on.

Some students were disappointed by the change with the project because they had already decided on a place to complete the community service hours necessary for the Hero Project.

“I am not happy with the change, I have wanted to participate with a particular organization since my freshman year,” said senior Natalie Waechter.

“I’m not a huge fan of the new project. I was really looking forward to doing a project that also helped the community,” senior Seychelle Kauffman said.

Other seniors are excited that the project has changed, and are interested to see how it turns out since they are the “guinea pigs.”

“I like that it changed so we get to try new things,” said senior Jenny Veyna. “Although it has some similarities to our Ninth Grade Project, I like the fact that we get to choose our topic.”

Even though the rally was mainly directed towards teaching the seniors about the new project, the senior advisers also planned games for the students to play.

As they walked in, each senior was assigned one of four countries and sat in a designated area for their team.

The theme for the Finish Strong rallies this year is the Olympics, and during the rally the teams competed against each other for medals.

The seniors competed in a game of heads or tails, “Identify the Olympian,” volleyball, synchronized sketching, and “Make a Motion,” during which each country had to perform something in unison. These games were followed by a performance from Principal Joe Bova and Vice Principal Carlos Cohen during which they acted out their version of synchronized swimming.

To conclude the rally, the seniors repeated after Lindsey in a pledge to finish their last year of high school strong.

Credit: Josh Ren & Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press


Credit: Emily Chacon, Kazu Koba, Erin Maidman & Bridget Parrino/The Foothill Dragon Press

What do you think?