What are Thacher students truly interested in? That question is answered annually when each senior presents a Senior Exhibition capstone project (Sr Ex). For many, presenting to the Thacher community is the highlight of their academic career here. For the audience, it is a time to learn and to be impressed.
Under the guidance of faculty research advisors and with the assistance of the library staff and English teachers, the seniors spend months clarifying their subjects, researching, writing, editing, and re-writing. “The library staff helped track down the source that my advisee decided was unfindable,” said Iona Popa CdeP 2010, English and Latin teacher, and a member of the Senior Ex committee.
Once the information is compiled, students draw on their creative skills to create compelling, attractive presentations with the help of a faculty presentation advisor. “Finally, after hours of practice,” says Molly Perry CdeP 1985, Sr Ex Program coordinator and language department chair, “the seniors courageously take to the stage to share their knowledge with their teachers, their parents, and their peers.” Then, it’s over. Seniors can breathe a sigh of relief along with feeling some mixed emotions that this milestone has been reached. “It is very bittersweet to be done with my senior exhibition,” said Ursula ’19.
The topics this year covered a wide range of categories: from science to religion, diversity to psychology, business to ethics, as well as domestic and international cultural issues. Here is a brief sampling of the 64 subjects seniors chose to investigate:
Biomimicry: Natural Blueprints for Innovation that Excites
Putting it Off: Into the Mind of a Procrastinator
China’s Healthcare Crisis
Dead White Men: The Literary Canon
The Myth of American Meritocracy
The Fate of the West: Analysis of Cowboy Culture and Ranching
Why Airplane Accidents Happen
The Environmental Cost of Eating Meat in the 21st Century
Mindfulness as a Key to Realizing Student Success
Hip Hop Culture’s Influence on Luxury Fashion
How Korea Produces the Most Depressed Students
As a Thacher graduate who presented a Sr Ex her senior year and a current faculty advisor for seniors presenting theirs, Ms. Popa had a unique perspective to share. Reminiscing on her time as a student, she felt it was, “a coming of age in a sense; a real feeling of maturity. That was a moment that I had done something on my own, with the help of an amazing advisor, of course. There was a sense of completion.”
Ms. Popa, the educator, is more impressed by the program now than when she was a student. “So much about this place is visible in Sr Ex,” she said. “This is one of the ways in which the amazing educational resources we have manifest. We are capitalizing on some of our resources in a really cool way…. The mentor relationship, the incredible library resources, and the students—they invest in their intellectual potential throughout four years and we see the results of that in the Senior Ex.”
Ms. Perry summed it up: “It is my favorite weekend of the year, as it's a time when we exhibit and celebrate academic achievement and individual accomplishments.”